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."

Since Team Novo Nordisk launched in December 2012, Kevin De Mesmaeker has served as a dedicated member of the project. He raced professionally for five seasons before moving over to the coaching side where he is a director sportif for the team’s junior program. As a rider, he made team history when he earned the squad’s first podium at a UCI 2.HC race when he took third on during Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California (2014).

Growing up in Belgium, De Mesmaeker had an athletic childhood, playing soccer, running and practicing judo. He got his first road bike from his grandfather and began 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 rider, and decided to start racing. After achieving dozens of top 10 finishes and overall victories, he signed with the Belgian Van Der Vurst Cycling Team.

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

Recently, De Mesmaeker took a job as store manager for a cycle shop in Brussels so he remains involved in cycling fulltime. In his free time, he plays indoor football (soccer) in a local league and enjoys spending time with friends and going to music concerts.

De Mesmaeker excels as an ambassador for the diabetes community. It’s a major life change he says has helped him grow and he thoroughly enjoys spreading Team Novo Nordisk’s mission throughout Belgium and the world.