Meet Our Ambassador: Emanuel Mini
04 March 2020
My first contact with Team Novo Nordisk was through an email. I had never sent an email in a language other than Spanish. I was 26-years-old, which is the age where most cyclist’s careers at their apex or even possibly already on the decline.
And my dream was just starting.
I attended Talent ID camp and everything impressed me. The language was new. Dinner time was at 18:30 where in Argentina we don’t eat until 21:00! It was a week full of emotions, experiences, and learning.
Immediately after I left Talent ID camp, I received an email saying I had earned a spot on the 2015 development team. It was absolutely thrilling—I had just earned my first great personal accomplishment as a cyclist.
My first year as a devo will be one that I will never forget. I was living outside of my country for a long time and sharing a house with my teammates—15 cyclists with a mix of 10 different languages.
I had never been this far from home, my family, or my friends. But I had chosen to put myself in that position and I was achieving a dream. I decided I would do everything in my power to keep moving forward with that dream to become a professional cyclist.
My family supported me in every step of the way and it wasn’t easy. It required a lot of effort and dedication. I wasn’t the best physically, but I worked hard every day. That perseverance is a characteristic that I value. I focused on being a good teammate and giving everything for this team and this program. It gave me so much pride and motivation to race with the words Changing Diabetes across my jersey.
My first win in a bike race in the US was March 29th, 2015. I will never forget the day because it was my sister Laura’s birthday and I dedicated the victory to her.
I spent three years training and racing with the Devo team. It was a time where I learned so much, both as a person and a cyclist. It instilled so many values that I carry forward with me today.
In August 2017, another step in my dream was achieved. I remember the moment vividly. Gleb, the former development sport director, told me that I had earned a spot on the men’s pro team for the 2018 season. I immediately called my family and shared the news with them.
Throughout my years as a professional cyclist, I valued all the ups and downs because I knew how hard I had worked to be there and recognized that with dedication, perseverance, and hard work, any dream can be achieved.
On a sporting level, competing around the world with our jersey and helping to change the way people see and think about diabetes was fantastic. It wasn’t only about winning races—the real change was in showing people that we could compete against the best in the world.
On a personal level, I relocated to Spain. I lived there from 2018-19, which was another new challenge. I loved Spain and being surrounded by such friendly and kind people, which provided me with so many memories. I also started dating my girlfriend Mari. She supports me in everything I do and is always by my side. It has been an amazing experience to share in detail this life of racing and what it means on a personal level to changing diabetes.
As I’ve shifted into being an ambassador for the team, I can say that I’m so happy for this new opportunity. It is an important change and a new challenge. I know that I’ll keep having the opportunity to travel around the world and share our mission to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes through my story. Personally, I take a lot of pride and responsibility being the only person from South America within the program and I’m eager to keep changing how people view diabetes and hopefully changing people’s lives.
I’m excited for this new phase of life!