Oliver Behringer returns as TNN ambassador

06 July 2022

Oliver Behringer is a former professional cyclist with Team Novo Nordisk.  He took the bold step last year to retire from the sport to focus on his mental health and return to the medical fraternity in Switzerland as a nurse. Today we’re happy to announce Oliver returns to the team in his capacity as a TNN Ambassador as he aims to keep driving change in the diabetes community. 

What does it mean to you to become a TNN Ambassador?

When I first met the team, it immediately felt like a second family to me. I felt how much of a positive impact the team’s aura had on me – both as someone living with diabetes and as a person in general. To inspire, educate and empower those affected by diabetes is one of the things, besides cycling, I always loved about being a rider for Team Novo Nordisk. Now that I retired from professional cycling, I still feel the need to show the people affected by diabetes that everything is possible and that it is worth it to chase your dreams. So, when the team asked me to stay with them as an ambassador, it just felt like the obvious and right thing to do. And to stay in close contact with the team I was riding for for 5 years and the people working there in that way is super nice, too – As I said, they are like a family to me.

What are you hoping to achieve with this role?

I want to keep showing people that they should believe in their dreams and then want to give them the courage to chase them. Diabetes shouldn’t be the reason to stop giving your best to reach your goals. If anything, it should be a motivation, because as [CEO and co-founder] Phil Southerland likes to say: “Diabetes only choses champions”.

How has your life changed since retiring from pro cycling?

It was a process and that process is still going on. I didn’t know I would retire until I basically had to decide if I wanted to sign another contract or not. It was not an easy decision to make but up until now I still think it was the right decision for me.

I have a new job and cycling is a hobby again. That part was strange at the start but I got used to it very quickly.  At the very beginning, I felt stressed when I couldn’t ride my bike every day but now, I just enjoy when I can ride. The transition to going back to working as a nurse again was easier than I thought. Despite missing the innovations and changes of the last 5 years I found myself back into my routine quickly. I have a very supportive team and it is just awesome to work with them.

I think one important thing is that I have this all-in or not mentality. I was all in and did everything I could in these 5 years with the team and I have no regrets, so that made it easier to step back. But that also meant that I had to have some distance from professional cycling and the team just after I stopped being a rider, and to have a break to give the brain that “not at all” moment to find a good balance to start my new life.

Did you stay active after retiring? Why is that?

I am still active, yes. Mostly cycling, because I just love to ride and it gives me a good work-life balance but I also occasionally run or go to the gym. I love to be free in what I want to do and when I want to be active. So I pretty much only ride when the sun is out and I decide on the go if I want to ride easy or if I want to get this Strava KOM today – just for fun!

One big thing is also that I feel better overall and my diabetes is easier to manage when I exercise a few times per week. This is one big advantage of having diabetes and seeing your glucose and insulin needs: When my glucose is high despite injecting more insulin than usual, I know I took it easy for a few too many days and I am motivated again to go out and help myself get my diabetes management under control.

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