Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, finished strongly in the sixth edition of Le Tour de Filipinas—proving that with the right knowledge, discipline and attitude, people with diabetes can follow their dreams and compete at the highest level.
Thirteen teams from 11 countries competed in Le Tour de Filipinas, the only Philippine cycling tournament duly sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, Philippine Cycling Federation, and Asian Cycling Federation. The 4-day race covered a total distance of 532.50 kilometers.
Five of the 18 members of the Team Novo Nordisk professional men’s cycling team for 2015 competed in Le Tour de Filipinas. These were (in alphabetical order) Scott Ambrose (New Zealand), Stephen Clancy (Ireland), James Glasspool (Australia), Joonas Henttala (Finland), and Simon Strobel (Germany).
Team Novo Nordisk’s Scott Ambrose is best sprinter
Team Novo Nordisk earned a historic win in Stage 2 of Le Tour de Filipinas as Scott Ambrose soloed to victory, earning him the coveted green points classification jersey. After securing and protecting the jersey since Stage 2, Scott Ambrose took home top honors in the sprint classification in the fourth and final stage which started in Lingayen, Pangasinan and finished in Baguio City.1 Scott Ambrose received the Best Sprint Overall Award during the Awards Night of Le Tour de Filipinas.
“The Tour de Filipinas has been a massive success for Team Novo Nordisk. The team rode 100 percent for me, and I cannot thank them enough,” the 20-year-old Ambrose said. “I am so proud to be a part of this team, especially after seeing how the boys fully sacrificed their own ambitions for mine.”1
Diabetes is no obstacle
On top of all the rigorous physical training and preparation required by top-level cycling, members of the Team Novo Nordisk professional men’s cycling team also have to contend with the demands of diabetes, such as frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels, regular administration of insulin shots, and sticking to a carefully planned diet, among others. Compared to professional cyclists without diabetes, the Team Novo Nordisk cyclists have to work doubly hard.
Scott Ambrose was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2013, a complete surprise to the then 17-year-old Kiwi who enjoyed an active childhood and competed in nearly every sport he could find.
Twenty-two-year-old Stephen Clancy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 18. A diabetes specialist told him extreme levels of exercise could complicate his diabetes management and make it more difficult to control the condition. From his hospital bed, he called his cycling coach, who told him about Team Novo Nordisk.
Twenty-three-year-old James Glasspool and Joonas Henttala were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they were 10 years old. In his youth, Henttala hid his diabetes from his teammates because he feared monitoring it during a ride would slow everyone down. Now that he rides with a team composed exclusively of riders with type 1 diabetes, Henttala finds it reassuring to be with a group that can relate to the condition. Thanks to the camaraderie, Henttala says his diabetes management has improved.
Simon Strobel was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 14. The 28-year-old physician began his sports career as a speed skater, where he won several national championships and competed at the European Championships as a member of the German National Team. After a knee injury sidelined his career, he switched to the bike and quickly found success.
During the final stage in Baguio City, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Philippines set up a booth where many race spectators flocked for one-on-one diabetes education sessions conducted by registered diabetes education and nutrition counsellors. Almost 200 people availed of free random blood sugar testing provided by Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Philippines.
Changing Diabetes is Novo Nordisk’s global advocacy, which works to raise awareness, improve access to care and address the psychosocial aspects of diabetes in order to improve people’s lives. Changing Diabetes also pushes the frontiers of research and development to improve treatments and create more opportunities for people with diabetes.[pq]Going beyond medicine, Novo Nordisk works with partners to advocate for better education and support, helping people better manage their diabetes and live life on their own terms.[/pq]
In collaboration with policymakers and health organizations worldwide, Novo Nordisk is pushing diabetes to the top of the global health agenda. The company also works with patient organizations to raise awareness about prevention, care and control of diabetes.
“Team Novo Nordisk is an integral part of our Changing Diabetes initiative. Just as the team members give their 100 percent to compete at the highest levels of cycling, they also work hard to control their diabetes. Through their experiences and life stories they hope to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes,” said Mr. Jeppe Theisen, General Manager, Novo Nordisk Philippines.
When not on their bikes, Team Novo Nordisk riders meet thousands of people every year who are inspired by their message and empowered by their actions at races spanning the globe. The team also engages regularly with their more than one million Facebook fans, which is nearly double the following of any other professional cycling team.
Team Novo Nordisk’s 2015 season will take them to numerous countries around the world in South America, Europe, USA and Asia, as they continue racing to change diabetes.