Hometown: Serskamp, Belgium
Age of diagnosis: 20
"I’m still the same person I was before diabetes. The only difference now is I have to manage my diabetes."

Growing up in Belgium, Kevin de Mesmaeker had an athletic childhood, playing soccer, running and practicing judo. He got his first road bike from his grandfather and he started riding with his father’s amateur club. While out on a training ride with a friend who was already competing on the junior circuit, de Mesmaeker noticed he could easily out climb the other riders, and decided to start racing. After achieving dozens of top 10 places and overall victories, he signed with the Belgian Van DerVurst Cycling Team.

That same year, de Mesmaeker was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. While in the hospital, a then 20-year-old de Mesmaeker was told he would never race again. It was the middle of his season and de Mesmaeker did not want to quit. Fortunately, de Mesmaeker connected with Team Novo Nordisk rider Martijn Verschoor who assured de Mesmaeker he could still be a professional cyclist. De Mesmaeker signed with Team Novo Nordisk the following season.

In the years since, de Mesmaeker not only become a pro cyclist, but an ambassador for the diabetes community; and in 2017, he joined the Junior Team staff as Sport Director.