When the Tour of Britain comes hurtling through the Suffolk countryside on Saturday, it will not just be the household names such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish inspiring the crowds.
They may not be the ones performing the breakaways at the head of the pack, but in one of the toughest races in one of the most testing endurance sports going, Team Novo Nordisk will be deserving of plenty of attention.
The first all-diabetes professional cycling team saddled up to compete in the UK’s leading professional cycle race when the Tour got under way from Angelesey on Sunday.
A unique team of cyclists, who all have type 1 diabetes, have far more than the ever-changing nature of the roads to manage during a gruelling eight days that will see them ride through Wattisham, Bildeston and Hadleigh on the penultimate leg on Saturday.
By completing the race, Team Novo Nordisk are hoping to inspire, educate and empower some 3.9 million people across the UK who are affected by diabetes.
The co-founder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk, Phil Southerland, said: “We are thrilled to be competing in the UK again this year. When diagnosed with diabetes, many people think it means they won’t be able to live life the way they’d hoped.
“We’re here to show people with diabetes that you can achieve your goals and live life well through good control. That’s exactly what we’re doing in the UK, with the men’s professional cycling team and elsewhere with our wider team; including the youngsters in our development team.”
During the Tour, supporters are encouraged to join Team Novo Nordisk, whose primary sponsor is Novo Nordisk A/S, at any stage of the race to show their support.
“Team Novo Nordisk is inspiring people with diabetes of all ages,” said Karen Addington, chief executive in the UK for type 1 diabetes charity JDRF (www.jdrf.org.uk).
“Exercise, monitoring and appropriate treatment is important in the management of both types 1 and 2 diabetes.
“The team’s success shows what’s possible when living with the condition — diabetes never has to hold you back in life.”
She added: “Daily self-management of the condition is certainly a challenge. But in embracing this challenge, you can still go on to achieve great things.”
Ahead of yesterday’s fifth stage, from Edinburgh to Blyth, Juan Jose Lobato Del Vallewas top of the overall points classification with 39 points.
n Details of the Tour of Britain race route for stage seven, the longest at 227.1km (14.2 miles) from Fakenham to Ipswich, including estimated arrival times, can be found at www.tourofbritain.co.uk/stages.