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Timmy Duggan hopes to salvage season at Colorado tour

After breaking his leg at the Tour Down Under, Duggan has been working on his comeback — but it takes time

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ASPEN, Colo. (VN) — Things never got rolling this season for Boulder’s Timmy Duggan.

So far, anyway.

The 2012 U.S. national road race champion crashed out of the Santos Tour Down Under in January, breaking his leg. Since then, he’s had to recover and race, but wasn’t able to recover properly, or really train specifically, most of the season. Now, he’s heading into his beloved Colorado race, the USA Pro Challenge, looking for a good ride. VeloNews caught up with the Saxo-Tinkoff rider a few days before the race was to shove out of Snowmass.

VeloNews: This season hasn’t been what you’d hoped for, with the early injury. What’s it been like for you this year?

Timmy Duggan: It’s been a really difficult season for me. It’s kind of sucked. It hasn’t been so much fun. It’s been hard and frustrating not being at my normal level. I haven’t had any huge setbacks with my recovery. It’s just, yeah, you break your leg, it’s a pretty big deal, and it doesn’t go as fast as you’d like it to, like a collarbone or something. I’ve never done anything to my lower extremities before. It’s kind of a new one on me, and it’s definitely a little bit more difficult to get back from than just a broken collarbone or something like that.

VN: What’s the recovery been like? Have you made changes to compensate for the leg, technically?

TD: All sorts of stuff, not really permanent changes, but as I was getting back on the bike and getting into more proper training, I was working with Andy Pruitt at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, making some minor changes to accommodate the muscle weaknesses and compensation … making sure I wasn’t doing any damage by my training, making sure all my muscles are moving in the right places. We just kept an eye on things. Working with my coach, working with my power data from the races.

Even though the surgery has been really difficult on me this year it still has been a steady progression upward. My power, all the different zones, has been steadily increasing. But, like I said, just not as fast as you want it to be. … It’s not a three-month thing like a collarbone. A broken leg, it takes a year to get back to 100 percent.

I’m hoping to salvage something here in the last month or two of the season. Things are coming along. It’s easy to get to 90 percent … at this level, the WorldTour level, that’s all that matters. That’s the difference between swinging at the back and being in the cars and being at the front of the race.

VN: Are you looking forward to this race, given the fact it’s in your home state?

TD: I’m definitely looking forward to it. Hometown race, hometown crowd. … I’ve kind of had no choice this season than to have peaked for this time of year. With my injury this season, it’s kind of go up as fast as you can and see what you can get at the very end because there’s not so much time. …

I’m very confident coming into this race. The last two years, I’ve done Utah as well preceding Colorado. And I was just absolutely flying in Utah. Had amazing legs. And then Colorado, a week later, just wasn’t quite the same. Just definitely a notch missing. I think not doing Utah this year will definitely benefit me. Two WorldTour stage races like that, at altitude, is a bit much. There’s very few who can be at the top for both of those races so close together.

VN: Who are your top picks for the overall?

TD: Certainly Tejay [van Garderen] is going to be hungry, after a Tour de France that wasn’t quite what he wanted. I think he’s definitely going to be after at it. Chris Froome, you can’t count him out, the best stage racer in the world, depending on how he comes out of the Tour. …

It’s certainly not a vacation race, you know? You can’t just kind of coast and do it and expect to be the best. Colorado, you have to take it serious. You’ve gotta do your time at altitude beforehand to get ready.