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Big Dream, Big Team: Novo Nordisk in Utah

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One team in the Tour of Utah this year is standing out in a big way and it isn’t by being on the podium.

Aug 5, 2016 – Team Novo Nordisk Pro Cycling are living heros for the nearly 400 million people worldwide diagnosed with diabetes. Not only are they riding for those diagnosed with diabetes, in order to compete with the team, a rider must be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

By James Sanford/Photo ©VeloImages

I had the opportunity to sit down with Fitzalan Crowe, Global Communications Manager for Pro Sport Communication who handles all race day communication for Team Novo Nordisk, after Stage 4 of the Tour of Utah presented by UnitedHealthcare and ask her how the pro cyclists prepare for these races and what affects the riders the most.

“They eat and drink the same as any other rider. We probably have a more extensive staff than any other team. We always have a doctor with them along with nutritionists and dietitians.”

Their diet is the same but each rider wears a “continuous glucose monitor” that sends an update to the staff every 5 minutes of what their glucose levels are. Based on their levels, they can pull back to the car and talk to the doctor, grab something to eat, and continue racing. “The biggest things that has affected these riders is the heat and altitude. None of these guys are from altitude. We just make sure that they are drinking lots of water.”

I asked Crowe what the team works to stand for. She said, “Our stated mission, for Team Novo Nordisk, is to educate and inspire and empower everyone affected by type 1 diabetes.”

If anyone has any reason to achieve their dreams, it’s the pro cyclists of Team Novo Nordisk. This is a team driven by one very big dream. The team is working towards competing in the Tour de France by 2021. What’s so unique about this year for Team Novo Nordisk to compete in the Tour de France is that would mark the 100 years since the discovery of insulin. This would be a dream winning moment for Team Novo Nordisk since it is quite difficult for any team to have the opportunity to compete in the Tour de France.

“It’s tough,” she continued. “There’s never been a professional sports team like this. We are hoping and we are dreaming big for this. Novo Nordisk is a fantastic sponsor and they dream big with us.” This is the 4th season professional race for Team Novo Nordisk. For many of the riders, this is their first race. The newer riders rely heavily on cycling veteran Javier Megias from Spain who finished second overall in the Tour de Korea and 14th overall in the Tour of California to guide the team.

Along with their big dream, they inspire the dreams of those affected by diabetes. Speaking to those diagnosed with diabetes, Crowe said, “Your dream might not be to be a pro cyclist, but whatever your dream is, you can still chase and achieve it with this condition.”

James is a student at Utah Valley University and has earned his Associate’s Degree. He is now working on a Bachelor’s Degree in communications.