Duggan down and out Down Under.

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The highs and lows in professional cycling are hors categorie extreme. Nobody knows that better than Saxo Bank’s Timmy Duggan. He’s had enough bad luck for several riders and his crash Thursday on stage three of the Town Down under was just another nasty hard knock.

Back in 2008 a horrific crash in the Tour of Georgia nearly killed him. He smack ed his head on the tarmac and was going into convulsions when the ambulance arrived. Neurologists had no idea if his brain and motor skills would fully recover. It took two years just for him to really feel comfortable racing a bike at high speed in the peloton.

Then when he starting to regain his form, he crashed in Europe and broke his arm in three places. Another major setback but Duggan is nothing if not persistent and optimistic. Like that famous German philosopher once said, that which does not kill me only makes me pedal stronger.

Duggan finally put things together last year and had some magic rides including a trip to the Olympics. The big one was taking the US Road Race Championship to take the Stars and Stripes jersey. But as Duggan told me when I interviewed him for Cycle Sport magazine, “when the water is still, that’s when its dangerous. That’s when the shit starts hitting the fan.”

Sure enough those career highlights were followed by another lowlight. He had signed a contract with Sidertech to be a team captain and chart his own future but in the wake of the USADA Armstrong debacle, the team folded. Suddenly Duggan was left without a ride with the season fast approaching.

His luck turned once again when Bjarne Riis and Saxo Bank came to the rescue. Duggan’s final career goal after the Olympics and US Road Race Champion is to ride a grand tour. The Danish squad seemed like the ideal shot at making that a reality. Duggan was even joining fellow Boulder, Colorado resident Rory Sutherland with the move to Saxo.

Duggan and his wife made the life-changing move to Spain and set up shop. All systems go, nothing but green lights and brighter opportunities.

Still water strikes again.

New team, first race of the season, Tour Down Under and Duggan’s world flips again. Coming into a roundabout too fast, Duggan’s breaks his collarbone and worse — his tibia. No timetable set for return, just more rehab and another test of fortitude and optimism.

Twisted Spoke hopes to see Duggan back racing as soon as possible and with the bad luck gone for 2013.

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