US road champ Duggan signs with Saxo Bank-Tinkoff.

Duggan heads to Saxo

Timmy Duggan survives the unraveling of SpiderTech.

The reigning US road race champion signed a one year contract with Saxo-Bank Tinkoff after his deal with Canadian squad SpiderTech fell through.

“I am thrilled to make a late signing into a fantastic situation,” said Duggan. “Throughout my career I’ve admired Bjarne’s world-class focus on the team aspect of cycling and I always wanted to be a part of that.”

Riis is also thrilled although his goosebumps have more to do with UCI points. He’s added Roman Kreuziger, Nicholas Roche, Daniele Bennati and Rory Sutherland — who won the America Tour prize — for their precious points. Supposedly Duggan brings 100 points for winning that US champ jersey, but nobody really knows how those points factor into the grand Saxo haul according to the UCI.

Setting the math aside, the interesting question is whether Duggan could possibly work his way onto the 2013 Saxo Tour de France roster.

When we interviewed Duggan for a profile in Cycle Sport magazine a few months back, he said he’d reached two of this three career goals: US Champion and the Olympics. Still to achieve, the rabbit pate on the baguette, the Grand Shindig, Le Tour de France.

One of his frustrations with his previous Liquigas squad was their loose, last minute attitude toward his race calendar. He had high hopes of riding Le Tour for SpiderTech in 2014 but maybe with some luck he can be at the start of the Tour in Corsica. In any case, a grand tour looks like a distinct possibility for Duggan, who is an all-rounder and climber.

It’s hard to say at this point what role Duggan will play for Bjarne Riis’ team. The plan at SpiderTech was for him to assume a leadership role and have more freedom to ride his own races. That may or may not be the case at Saxo.

No matter what the scenario, Duggan is well-respected in the peloton for his strong work ethic and team-first attitude. The Cycle Sport profile I wrote on Duggan has already run so I’ll give you an excerpt because it shows the kind of guy Saxo will have at big races.

The quote is from Ian MacGregor who grew up ski and bike racing with Duggan. “There’s two types of leaders — the one who leads by fear and the leader that leads out of love. Timmy is definitely the latter,” said MacGregor. “He’s not going to yell at teammates. He’ll encourage them to be their best. He’s gonna bring their focus to a higher level. There’s a positive radiation that will come from him. And they know that if they’re in a break with a chance to win, he will ride his heart out for them.”

Sounds like the wily Bjarne Riis scored himself another smart signing.

 

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