Team Liquigas rider Timmy Duggan jumped from obscurity to secure the 2012 USA Cycling Professional Road National Championship in May.
It was the biggest win of the 29-year-old's seven-year professional career, and proves he can deliver when given the opportunity. Securing the national championship jersey for cyclists typically is a major honor, and some of the best U.S. racers show up to compete.
Bleacher Report recently spoke with the new U.S. national champion to discuss his victory last month, and what the rest of the cycling season holds for him.
Featuring some of the best U.S. riders, Duggan had to battle more experienced riders with stacked cycling teams, such as the American riders from Team BMC and Garmin-Sharp (then Garmin-Barracuda).
“For me, the victory was very important. Winning the national championship has been a goal of mine for a long time and it feels great to accomplish that. It was particularly satisfying because we were only a team of two riders up against many bigger teams!”
Banking on his chances to escape and hoping for a lot of wheel-watching from the favorites towards the end of the race, Duggan made his move to finish 26 seconds ahead of second-place Frank Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling Team).
“In the finale there was a moment of confusion and hesitation, when everyone in the elite final selection was trying to assess what to do, to wait for a teammate, to find out what the situation was. I knew in that moment if I could attack and get a gap it was likely that the rest of the riders would just look at each other and not help each other while I rode away. I attacked, and just put my head down and never looked back.”
While some U.S. racers are able to ride in Europe for their own glory, Duggan remains a loyal servant for some of the superstars on a stacked Liquigas race team.
“I get a lot of satisfaction riding as a domestique for riders like Peter Sagan, and being a part of so many big victories. I would like to develop in that role even further but still have a few chances for myself. Like at the USA nationals, we see that when I do get a chance to ride for myself, I can be very successful...”
On the eve of the 99th edition of the Tour de France, Duggan will not be racing in Belgium and France this July. Instead, he will race again at least twice more in Europe, and then head back stateside to represent Liquigas—and the Stars and Stripes jersey.
“I just finished the Tour de Suisse, and then I will be at the Tour of Poland, the London Olympics and the Tours of Utah and Colorado. That makes a very important set of races for me!”
Duggan will serve as a helper for U.S. sprinter Tyler Farrar’s Olympics ambitions to grab a medal against an impressive list of international riders late next month. Throughout the rest of the season, Duggan will help chauffeur team leaders along, but may find opportunities to seek his own personal glory.
Michael Hatamoto is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand via direct communication with Team Liquigas/Tim Duggan.