Terrazas del Portezuelo, Argentina — In its opening race of the 2014 season, Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, proved they have what it takes to race alongside some of the best riders in the world.
The Tour De San Luis, which featured a field including several former world champions, was a seven-day stage race throughout Argentina. Throughout the week, the peloton suffered from intense heats and powerful winds, but that didn’t diminish Team Novo Nordisk riders’ goals of inspiring, educating and empowering people affected by diabetes.
Despite withdrawing from the race on stage 6, Team Novo Nordisk’s David Lozano spent the final day at the finish line talking with fans, particularly those living with diabetes.
“For me, that is such an important aspect of the job,” the 25-year-old Spaniard said. “They are the reason I am here and it is so rewarding for me to show them what can be possible with diabetes.”
The final stage was a 148.1-kilometer race from San Luis to Terrazas del Portezuelo that played out slightly differently from previous stages. It took much longer for a breakaway to materialize; it wasn’t until after the day’s only categorized climb that a four-man breakaway escaped. They were caught inside the final 30 km, setting the stage for a sprint finish.
Heading into the sprint, Team Novo Nordisk’s Andrea Peron was well situated in the front group. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) took the win with Peron finishing in 18th, in the same time as Modolo.
“The final sprint was just so challenging,” Peron said of the technical, slightly uphill finish. “I started my sprint about a dozen or so riders back and despite trying I simply couldn’t move forward.”
Javier Megias finished the Tour De San Luis as Team Novo Nordisk’s best-placed rider in 49th, 24:03 behind overall race winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Team Novo Nordisk next races at the Vuelta a Mallorca, a series of five professional one-day races starting on February 2nd.