Timmy Duggan is targeting the Tour of California as his comeback race as he recovers from a serious crash at the Tour Down Under which left him with a fractured tibia and broken collar bone. The American road champion hit the tarmac on stage 3 of the Australian race and underwent surgery in Adelaide. Now back in the US, he has begun his rehabilitation and hopes to be training on the roads by March.
The tibia break is by far the most serious injury he sustained but Duggan has already made progress, with some light work on the home trainer forming part of his recovery.
“I’m just recovering, doing rehab and getting a little bit better each day,” he told Cyclingnews.
“I had surgery on both of those the very next day in Adelaide. They put two screws in the tibia and a plate on the collar bone. I’ll piece back together.”
Duggan moved to Saxo Bank after Spidertech – the team he had originally signed to for the 2013 season - folded. The Tour Down Under marked his first race for the team and he admits that the pain of crashing was nothing compared to the racing days he’s been forced to concede.
“The broken bone was literally 10 per cent of the pain that I felt in disappointment in knowing that my whole season and everything I’ve worked for are just gone. That the next few months are gone and I have to start over from scratch. That’s what really hurts. Fortunately it’s nothing I’ve not been through before and I know how to come back stronger.”
“All I remember is that I slipped out at a roundabout at 80kph. I don’t know if there’s any rhyme or reason to it. I was talking to Nathan Haas from Garmin who was just a couple of wheels behind me and he was saying that my line was fine and that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. The roads can be slick there even when they’re dry but who knows. Either way I was just riding along and then flying into the curb at 80kph.”
“For a broken leg it’s not terrible, you could do worse with a broken leg. In my entire career I’ve never had a scratch on my legs so walking around on crutches was pretty new to me, but I’m lucky that it’s nothing worse than a typical broken bone. You get the fracture from basically a blow to your foot which pushes the tibia into your knee.”
Duggan’s race programme has obviously needed rescheduling with a window of between eight to 12 weeks on the sidelines. At present the Tour of California looks to be the best option for a comeback, and Duggan is quick to praise the support he has received from his team.
“My Saxo-Tinkoff team is incredibly supportive, everything I need to come back strong is at my disposal and we check in with each other regularly.
"I've got a world class rehab team assembled here in Boulder: orthopaedists, physical therapists, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic and muscle therapy.”
“The cycling season is super long so hopefully by the time I’m fit and healthy there’s still five or six months of racing left.”
“The most likely scenario will be returning at the Tour of California in May. It’s possible that I can go over to Europe and do Romandie but it’s a tough race and maybe not the best first race back. The more than likely scenario is to return at California and then I’ll have the rest of the season.”