Tim Duggan (Garmin-Slipstream) suffered a near fatal crash at the Tour de Georgia last year. Now, fully recovered from a brain injury, Duggan will join the peloton in the fight for the star and stripes jersey at the USPro Championships held in Greenville, South Carolina on Sunday.
“Here I am, a year later and it’s been an amazing journey,” said Duggan at a pre-race press conference. “It’s been a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of patience and a lot of help from my friends and family and my team. It’s cool to see it come full circle and here I am with my team and riding it out for the win on Sunday. It’s cool to go from zero to back on top again in one year.”
Duggan, 26, suffered from head trauma, a broken clavicle and scapula following a crash on a high speed descent during stage three of the Tour de Georgia last April. The USPro championship time trial in 2008 marked his first race back from partial recovery.
“My one race that I did all year was at the time trial championships because I figured there was little risk of crashing on my head again,” he said. “I did that to kind of hang out with the boys and feel the speed again.”
This year one of his most notable results included a second place in the final stage of the Dauphine Liberes in June. It was a result that marked the end of a long battle to regain his health and he welcomed the confidence booster.
“That was huge for me, that really turned my faith around,” said Duggan. “Up until that point I was struggling, fighting and working so hard to come back. The whole beginning of the season and certainly a year ago when I was here, I really didn’t know if I would be able to obtain that level again. There’s always that question mark in the back of my mind ‘am I ever going to be able to be at the highest level again?’.”
The USPro Championships Garmin-Slipstream team include defending national time trial champion, Dave Zabriskie, Duggan, Danny Pate, Jason Donald and Tom Peterson, who will no doubt all be factors in the hilly road race on Sunday. Also joining the team is U23 stagiaire Alex Howes, winner of the USA Cycling’s U23 Road and Criterium championships earlier this month.