Team Novo Nordisk’s Professional Cyclists Achieve Three Top Ten Finishes in USA Pro Cycling Challenges
From August 19 to 25, the cyclists for Team Novo Nordisk headed to Colorado to race from Aspen to Denver in the third annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge. All members of the cycling team have type 1 diabetes, making it the first professional sports team of its kind. The team includes 17 athletes from 10 different countries – Australia, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, and the United States. Although Team Novo Nordisk finished 15th out the 16 participating teams in the race, individual cyclists recorded multiple top ten finishes in the daily stages of the race. Andrea Peron of Italy finished sixth in Stage 6, where cyclists raced 117 miles of hilly terrain from Loveland to Fort Collins. The next day, Peron finished eighth in the final stage, a circuit race through Denver. On day three, Martijn Verschoor of the Netherlands finished seventh as the course climbed the mountainous terrain from Breckinridge to Steamboat Springs. Overall, Team Novo Nordisk’s highest finisher was Javier Mejías of Spain, who finished 23rd out of 108 total competitors.
This is the third year that the team has competed in this tour, although in the past it was known as Team Type 1-Sanofi. Team Novo Nordisk primarily competes on the UCI Continental Circuits, where it is officially recognized as a professional team. The Continental Circuits are the second highest level of professional cycling, behind only the UCI World Tour, which organizes the Tour de France. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is generally considered one of the two most important races in the United States, along with the Tour of California. As a UCI Professional Continental team, Team Novo Nordisk has the opportunity to earn a wild card to the world’s most prestigious cycling events, including the Tour de France. Team co-founder and CEO Phil Southerland, himself a former professional cyclist living with type 1 diabetes, has set 2021 as the target date for Tour de France qualification, in time for the centennial of the discovery of insulin.
While winning and entrance into more elite races is a major goal – as it should be for any professional team – Southerland says Team Novo Nordisk has a chance to pursue a far greater victory, as he explained in an interview last year: “Our goal is a modest five victories. We also want to be competitive in every race we start. However the impact of a team of diabetics doing so will forever change diabetes for our 371 million team members with diabetes in the world.”
To view more photos of Team Novo Nordisk at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, click here. —AW