Cholet, France – March 23, 2014 — Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, earned a historic win today as rider David Lozano captured the King of the Mountains (KOM) classification at the Cholet Pays de Loire in Cholet, France. The KOM jersey is awarded to the best climber in a cycling road race.
“When we launched the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team just over a year ago, we knew we had a special group of athletes who would not only inspire others with diabetes, but would win races,” said Team Novo Nordisk CEO and Co-founder, Phil Southerland. “Today’s win in the mountains competition at Cholet Pays de Loire is a huge milestone for the team and especially for David Lozano.”
Lozano was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2012 at the peak of his mountain bike career in Spain, where he was an 11-time national champion. Following the diagnosis, his team immediately broke his contract. Determined to continue racing as an athlete with type 1 diabetes, the 22 year old contacted Southerland and joined Team Novo Nordisk shortly after.
“It is a tremendous feeling to accomplish my first major win since switching to road racing and competing as an athlete with type 1 diabetes,” said Lozano. “I pushed myself hard today and I’m so happy I could bring home a win for the team and for all our fans.”
With the nickname “Challenge des 10 Bosses” or “10 Hills Challenge,” the KOM competition carries extra significance at Cholet Pays de Loire. Lozano’s strategy entering the race was to make the breakaway, but he soon realized he could win the competition.
“On the first climb, I saw a rider going for it and I just took off after him. I couldn’t catch him, but I crossed second,” Lozano said. “On the second climb, I summited first and I started to think I could earn the jersey. After that, I fought as hard as I could to earn every point. I couldn’t be any happier with today’s race.”
“David is an athlete who was told he could never compete again after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes,” Southerland said. “Today, he won his first jersey at a race that included five teams who will race in this year’s Tour de France. The entire Team Novo Nordisk organization is so proud of David and the riders who supported him. They are living proof that diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams.”
(Photo: ©Thomas Vergouwen/velowire.com)