Joonas Henttala is an experienced and talented rider who displays his strengths both on the climbs and the flats. A busy 2019 racing program was highlighted with a sixth-place finish on Stage 6 of the Tour du Rwanda, strong performances in California and Estonia, and a top 10 finish at the Finnish National Road Race Championship.
Now in his eighth professional season, the all-rounder grew up in an athletic family in a small village in Finland. Henttala earned his first professional podium in 2014 when he sprinted to second place from a two-man break at the Finnish National Road Race Championship. In 2016, Henttala took seventh on Stage 1 of Brazil’s Volta Ciclística Internacional do Rio Grande do Sul. Additional career highlights include ninth on Stage 2 of the Tour de Filipinas (2015) and finishing just off the podium in fourth place at the 2017 Finnish National Road Race Championship.
At the age of 10, Henttala had just begun racing when he started exhibiting typical diabetes symptoms. His father, who also has type 1 diabetes, immediately noticed the signs. Thanks to Henttala’s familiarity with diabetes and his father’s athletic lifestyle, he resumed playing sports immediately following his diagnosis.
In his youth, Henttala hid his diabetes from his teammates because he feared monitoring it during a ride would slow everyone down. Now that he rides with a team composed exclusively of riders with type 1 diabetes, he finds it reassuring to be with a group that can relate to the condition. Thanks to the camaraderie, Henttala says his diabetes management has improved.
For Henttala, riding in races he watched on TV during his childhood is a dream realized. The 28-year-old always imagined being a pro athlete, but never thought he would be where he is today because of diabetes. When he isn’t training, Henttala likes hanging out with his wife and friends, playing the guitar, and playing on the computer.