As cycling’s best start their roll through Colorado today, one of our own is in the pack. Boulder native Timmy Duggan is taking on what he describes as one of the toughest races in the world. Born and raised in Boulder and a Fairview High School graduate, Duggan and his wife now call Nederland home.

The 29-year-old Team Liquigas-Carbondale racer is fresh off the London Olympic Games and a 26th place finish in the Tour of Utah just last week. 5280 will follow Duggan‘s progress in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge all week with an in-depth look and explanation of his statistics collected by the Lafayette-based training plan company, TrainingPeaks.

We talked with Duggan last week to catch up on his summer and thoughts about getting to race in Colorado.

5280: You just finished the Tour of Utah. How did it go?

Timmy Duggan: It went good. I took some risks and went after the stage victories instead of the high overall placement. Coming straight from Europe, I haven’t been at altitude. Basically, I was just blowing out the cobwebs and going big.

5280: After a summer in Europe, how did racing in Utah provide a warmup for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge?

TD: Anytime you cross the pond and do a big-time change difference—then add in coming to Utah and Colorado by throwing in the high altitude factor—it is a shock to the system. It is good to get a good training block or, even better, a racing block, in there to recover.

5280: What is your role on the Liquigas-Cannondale team?

TD: I’m an all-arounder. I’m a good climber. I’m a good stage racer. I’m a good time trialist. I can do pretty much everything except for the sprints in a big mass sprint. I’m most productive covering the breakaway moves and setting up the pace on the front for our leaders.

5280: Talk about your win at the National Championships in South Carolina.

TD: I actually got the chance to race for myself. So often I am working for other riders on the team. I’m a domestique (read this to know what that means). A lot of times, I work for the team. Here, I got a rare opportunity to race for myself and it was enough to take the big win. It was really satisfying to take the opportunity and pull the trigger on it.

5280: What do you think your favorite stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will be?

TD: I’m definitely looking forward to the Golden to Boulder stage. It will be going straight through my hometown and the finish on Flagstaff. It is a climb I know like the back of my hand. It is going to be a tough and dynamic stage and I’m excited to race it.

5280: How many times have you ridden to the top of Flagstaff Mountain?

TD: I would say about 100.

5280: What is the strategy for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge?

TD: The Liquigas-Cannondale team is bringing a really strong squad over. We will be focused on the overall classification at the end of the week. We will have Vincenzo Niballi from Italy, fresh off his third-place finish at the Tour de France. I’ll be looking to help those guys for the win. But, if I have an opportunity for myself in this race, I’ll definitely take it.

5280: What do you think about having the time trial in Denver as the final stage?

TD: It will be interesting. It may not be quite as much of a spectacle as the circuit race with the mass start. In terms of the race, the GC (General Classification) not being decided until the last day in Denver will be a little more exciting. The race could definitely be won or loss on that final day.

5280: What is it that makes the USA Pro Cycling Challenge different?

TD: Last year was only the first year, but it blew everyone out of the water. The support from the community and the fan-base on the roadside is unbelievable. Day after day, from the start to the finish, they are everywhere. It makes it easier to ride and not feel your legs in the race. I haven’t seen anything like that except for the Olympics in London. In Colorado, the fans are even more passionate. They are educated and out to have a good time.

—Image courtesy of Casey B. Gibson.