Stage four of the Tour of Turkey in Marmaris is over when we Skype with Timmy Duggan. It’s his first race back after breaking his clavicle and fracturing his tibia in a terrible crash at the Tour Down Under. Here’s the quick chat before he had to head to dinner.
TS: It’s a big culture change going from an Italian team in Liquigas Cannondale to a Danish team in Saxo-Tinkoff. What can you tell me about those changes?
TD: It’s more new school versus Liquigas doing things the traditional way the Italians have always done it. That’s fine, that’s one way to win. It’s not like Italians are crappy bike racers.
TS: What’s the biggest surprise coming to Saxo?
TD: I guess it’s just the immediate feeling of team harmony, like you’re been in the team for ten years. That’s whether you’ve been there forever like Nicki Sorensen or just a few months like me. Immediately, you’re family. That’s the stand-out feeling, the vibe.
TS: So what strikes you about Bjarne Riis? You’ve heard a lot of things about him. What’s he like?
TD: I think Bjarne is an incredible leader. He knows how to motivate the troops. He walks into the room and he commands a presence and everybody listens. Things happen. He’s a unique one in terms of his leadership skills.
TS: I think of him as quiet and analytical –how does he get everybody fired up?
TD: He has this unquantifiable presence, a way of speaking. It’s like when you have a good coach and mentor and just one well-placed, aptly worded sentence at the right time means the world. Positive or negative. He’s really good at knowing those moments. You can’t teach that in school?
TS: You’ve had to come back from yet another terrible crash. Did you approach this recovery in a different way at all?
TD: I’m getting experienced in injury rehab. I guess just being patient and taking things as they come. I guess it’s just trying not to push it when it’s not in the cards. Sometimes it’s time to heal, just sit on the couch and do nothing. Just eat right, sleep right and heal. Then later you train. I’ve tried to break this injury up like that. A distinct healing phase — I don’t have to be on the bike at a certain date.
TS: At this point what are your goals are the Tour of California?
TD: We’ll have a good roster fighting for the overall GC with Mick Rogers who’s a former winner as well as sprints and breakaway stages. We’ll be well-rounded and ready to win on any day. My role will be the same as it was with Liquigas: being a good teammate, taking care of the boys and if I get a chance to hop in a breakaway I will, But first and foremost, it’s doing a good job for the team. That said, I’ll see how things go racing-wise (ed: in Turkey) and see how I come out of it.
TS: I haven’t heard one word about Mick Rogers. Can we look at him as a real contender?
TD: I don’t know. I’m in the dark because I’ve been at home, away from the races this whole month.
TS: What’s it like being a Saxo with fellow Coloradan Rory Sutherland?
TD: It’s great being together on the same time. We’ve been good buds for a long time. We kind of operate on the same wavelength. It’s nice to be competing with him instead of against each other.