19 Feb - 26 Feb 2023

TEAM Pro Team



Tour du Rwanda opener sees Planet back and just outside top ten

Team Novo Nordisk got the 2023 season underway in a positive fashion at the 26th Tour du Rwanda with returning French star Charles Planet finding his place in the bunch again and sprinting to 13th on stage one in Rwamagana.

Sports Director Gennady Mikhayov:

“It was a short opening stage at 115km and I think it helped that we arrived earlier in the week to acclimatize and get some easy training days in the before the race started. I’m happy with how we started and it’s especially nice to see Charles start strongly after the difficulties of the last two years with illness and then a major crash.”

“The guys rode with maturity, stayed together, and positioned Charles well for the final and I think after today his confidence will come back very quickly. You never know how someone will react to setbacks and Charles’ attitude is a great example for everyone, it’s hard settling back into a fast-moving peloton, because it’s a stressful environment and he did well today. It’s a solid start for us to build on.”

Charles Planet:

“Today was a good day to be back in the peloton, it was a nice stage and a clear opportunity for the sprinters, but with a little kick going into the last kilometer and I’m really happy at how my reflexes came back in the final.”

“I was pretty emotional at the end it feels so good to be back racing with the team after all the hard work I’ve put into the recovery process and it’s amazing how my brain and body clicked into gear being back in the bunch.

“I said to the guys I wanted to give it a try at the finish, and they rode strongly all day. Peter in particular was very impressive at the end, he dropped me off fifth or sixth wheel, but I was boxed in a little and slipped back in the last few hundred meters which is a shame. But I think it was a good start from us all today and it’s great to feel the confidence coming back.”

Planet locks in another top 15 in Rwanda

Continuing on from his strong start on stage one of Tour du Rwanda Frenchman Charles Planet sprinted into the top 15 again on today’s stage two after more good work from his Team Novo Nordisk teammates.

Sports director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“Very similar to yesterday’s stage in both how it unfolded and how it concluded, breakaway – regrouping – sprint and the guys did their jobs well again as we tried to build on yesterday’s solid start.”

“Charles and Peter showed more good understanding in the final and we can take a lot of positives from the last two stages and onto the first climbs that come up tomorrow.”

Charles Planet:

“I’m actually a little bit disappointed because I don’t feel that the result reflects how good my legs feel at the moment and also how well my teammates rode today.”

“Yes, the result is not that bad and I’m happy that we can continue in a positive way but I wanted to improve on yesterday’s result, not equal it and also to make the most of the sprint opportunities before we hit the climbs tomorrow. Overall we’re happy and in a good place so let’s see how tomorrow’s stage unfolds, looks like it’s going to be a tough one!”

Kusztor soars into top 20 on stage three in Rwanda

Veteran climber Peter Kusztor rode strongly on today’s third stage of the Tour du Rwanda with the 37-year-old former Hungarian champion claiming the third top 20 of this year’s race for Team Novo Nordisk.

Sports director, Gennady Mikhaylov:

“It was a very good ride from Peter and the guys today on what was clearly the hardest and longest stage of the race so far and he’s been quietly impressive over the last three days. The chase really intensified over the last 60km and it was very pleasing to see the guys working together again.”

“It was unfortunate to lose Lucas to a crash during the stage, we hope he recovers quickly and is back on the bike soon. Aside from that we’ve had three good days in a row and with another tough day coming up tomorrow we need to produce more of the same.”

Peter Kusztor:

“Very tough stage today and I really enjoyed it because I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself on the first real test of the race, in terms of distance and the climbs, but it went well and I’m happy with a top 20.”

“It was slow in the beginning because with a long day ahead at 200km no one wanted to chase the breakaway early on, and they had a gap of around 12 minutes at one point. But things settled down and as Total Energies started to pick up the pace we caught the lead group at the start of the last climb.

“I managed to stay in the main group until right towards the end and I felt good all day, had good legs and tried to race intelligently to conserve energy and the boys really helped me so thank you to them.”

Planet survives the climbs to sprint into top 10 in Rwanda

Frenchman Charles Planet finally broke the top 10 at the third time of asking for Team Novo Nordisk on today’s fourth stage at the Tour du Rwanda after another strong all round performance.

A short but tough punchy stage saw Planet again supported well by his teammates as the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team supported their leader over the climbs with the Frenchman sprinting into 8th place in the final.

Sports director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“An excellent team performance from the guys today and after banging on the door since the start of the race Charles showed his form with a strong finish and an impressive top ten.”

“We talked beforehand about how today’s stage could be a good opportunity for Charles, after David’s success here in previous years we had some previous knowledge of the parcours and that helped us today. We wanted to get a top ten result and now we’ve achieved it we need to keep pushing into the second half of the race and keep our momentum going.”

Charles Planet:

“I’m very happy with how it went today, it’s so good to break into the top ten and I love that kind of finish when a small group goes to the line. If those three guys hadn’t come through right at the end, it could’ve been a top five, but I’m satisfied with the result and man it feels good.”

“Already it feels like a boost to my morale. I’ve been saying the last few days that I felt good and the previous results didn’t really reflect just how good my legs are, so to demonstrate that today feels like a breakthrough.

“David Lozano knows this stage well after winning here in the past and he told me after the first climb that I was looking good and could do a good result here. Turns out he was right!”

Climb to form continues for Kusztor with strong ride on Rwanda Queen Stage

The elder statesman of Team Novo Nordisk defied the years again and showed what’s possible with diabetes at the Tour du Rwanda as 37-year-old Peter Kusztor proved to be one of the strongest of the day on this race’s brutal Queen Stage finishing in 22nd place.

Sports Director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“It was a good performance from Peter again today, the climbs were not easy at all and 195km with six ascents at altitude in these conditions means that there’s nothing straightforward about performing well.”

“The bunch split early on what was an explosive stage and Peter did a good job to stay close to the top 20 all day and he’s a great example for us all with his determination.”

Peter Kusztor:

“We knew it was going to be a tough day today – Queen stages are never easy – but alongside the length and elevation the constant attacks made it even harder.”

“I had to dig deep all day and the explosive nature of the racing meant that I had to try my best to stay near the front all day which was extremely difficult. I suffered, but I was able to suffer, and Charles in particular really helped me a lot, going on bottle runs back to the car and doing his best to make sure I was as good as I could be.

“I dropped off on the last climb with around 5km to go and had to ride my own pace to the line, but I didn’t finish too far back and I’m happy to stay in the top 20 on GC.”


Peter Kusztor continued his consistent form on stage 6 of the Tour du Rwanda, finishing fifteenth on another mountainous stage. The result saw him move up to sixteenth on the General Classification with two decisive days coming up.

Sports Director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“From the start the plan was for us to take the race day by day. We’ve been smart at managing our efforts and Peter is still feeling really good with two days left. The race is taking its toll on a lot of riders now which is probably why we saw a more controlled race on the start of the first two climbs today.”

“The last two days are tricky and anything can happen. The GC is still a tight battle with the top 16 guys all within a minute. Tomorrow is the kind of day where you can lose a lot of time so we will have to be smart again.”  

Peter Kusztor:

“It was an easy stage actually. We had two big climbs at the beginning and the tempo was steady. It was different to yesterday which was hard all the time. I was feeling really good all day. The real race started with 40 km to go on the fourth category climb. Charles brought me to the front so I could start the climb in a good position. I was feeling good and I was always in the top ten positions. I managed to follow attacks by setting my usual steady pace.”

“The last 5km climb wasn’t that hard, so it was quite a fast climb. We had about 20 guys coming to the sprint. I was happy to finish in the front again so I am looking forward to the last two stages. I think it’s going to be very hard because there are some steep uphills. I want to thank the team because they supported me all day and we’re ready for the last two days.”

Steep Mont Kigali the protagonist on stage seven in Rwanda

The penultimate stage of this year’s Tour du Rwanda saw an attack filled start before the challenging finishing circuits split the bunch further with two steep ascents of Mont Kigali. Team Novo Nordisk worked hard to keep Peter Kusztor as close to the front as possible and efforts paid off with the former Hungarian national champion moving up from sixteenth to thirteenth in the general classification.

Sport Director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“It was really explosive in the beginning today and nobody wanted to control the situation. We said beforehand we would try to get up the road if the chance came and it was David who was part of an early move that went on the first climb, but there was a regrouping and eventually things settled down. But not for long.”

“We tried to help Peter over the last laps and the guys did well to keep him as close to the front as possible. The day’s breakaway survived the two ascents up Mont Kigali followed by the yellow jersey group who came to the finish line in one’s and two’s.”

Peter Kusztor:

“Every day has been tough here in Rwanda and I could feel it in my legs today, but I started to feel better deeper into the stage. So, a little bit of optimism began to creep in, then we hit Mont Kigali. Twice.”

“The climb did its job in the final because it split the race up without losing any of the explosive nature of the end of the stage and to be honest, I’m quite happy to move into the top 15 overall because it was so tough. The boys were awesome again today, helping me a lot and always trying to bring and keep me at the front. One more day to go.”

Positive start to 2023 for Team Novo Nordisk in Rwanda

The world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team kicked off the 2023 season in consistent fashion at the Tour du Rwanda with both Frenchman Charles Planet and former Hungarian champion Peter Kusztor providing the ‘top ten’ highlights.

The eighth final stage in Kigali was a short one and unfolded as expected with explosive attacks throughout and Kusztor right up there on the final climb to move into the top ten on general classification, finishing in ninth.

Sports director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“Overall, I’m pleased with how we performed here in Rwanda, we achieved our goal of a top ten stage result with Charles and a high overall placing on the GC with Peter in ninth. David and Sam rode hard for Charles and Peter throughout the race and after losing Lucas to a crash early, the guys regrouped and showed great spirit.”

“It’s good to see Charles come back so strongly after the difficulties of the last two years and it was also nice to see Peter start his season on the front foot. It’s not easy at 37-years-old to be racing at a high-level day in day out against guys a lot younger than him. He’s really showing what’s possible.”

Peter Kusztor:

“It was a fight from the start today. Very explosive. Very fast and we really wanted to have a go to try and get the best result possible, so I’m happy that we managed to move into the top ten overall. That’s a nice way to end the race.”

“I think the decision we made to come one week before the race to train and acclimatize to the altitude was an important decision and we really felt the benefit as the race wore on. I don’t feel like I had a bad day on the bike here and it’s incredible to be able to race and drive change in a country like Rwanda. The fans are amazing, something special that gives you memories to cherish for a lifetime.”