LONDON — Timmy Duggan, who is part of the five-man U.S. men's road cycling team that will compete Saturday in the London Olympics' first cycling event, had an epic description of what it takes to be a top-level men's road racer.
"Cycling takes all these things in sport," Duggan said. "You have to have the endurance of a marathon racer or Siberian husky. For about five minutes of the race you have to have the strength of a cage fighter and you have to have the reactions of a fighter pilot." Duggan said this even though he's never owned a Siberian husky, fought in a cage or acted as a pilot in a fight.
But Duggan, 29, is a survivor.
In 2007, during a race in Georgia, Duggan crashed and suffered a severe head injury while making a descent. His family was told Duggan was likely to have permanent brain damage. And yet, four months after the crash, Duggan was back on his bike and now he's an Olympian.
So is Chris Horner, who is 40 and finally making his first Olympics appearance. Horner, winner of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, said he attended his first Olympics trials in Allentown, Pa., when he was 19. "You know, back then, yeah, I really wanted to make the team but when you're that young, you just assume there's going to be a next time. I didn't figure the next time would come when I was 40."