“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” -Confucius
Moving into his third year with Team Novo Nordisk development team for 2022, Californian sprinter Nigel Desota describes this year as his “make or break” season after a difficult 2021 the 26-year-old is ready to make the most of a predominantly European racing program.
A solid 2020 with a top 20 on the opening stage of the Tour of Mevlana in Turkey and victory on home soil at the Dalton Gran Prix in Georgia earned De Sota a renewal in 2021, but a combination of global travel restrictions and fatigue led to a shortened second season with the focus now fully on 2022.
De Sota comes from a family blessed with athletic genes. His father is a former professional skateboarder and his younger sister is a collegiate softball player. One of three siblings, De Sota was born and raised in California’s Long Beach area and describes his childhood as filled with sports and outdoor activities such as baseball, snowboarding, and skateboarding.
In his late teens, De Sota developed a passion for riding a fixed gear bike, enjoying the mode of transport instead of a car. Still, it wasn’t until after his diabetes diagnosis that De Sota first tried out a true road bike.
De Sota was diagnosed with diabetes during the holiday season around his 17th year. His grandfather also has (had?) type 1 diabetes. De Sota experienced increased thirst and urination and overall simply “feeling terrible”. Initially, De Sota was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but after a trip to the emergency room, he was officially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Once the initial shock subsided and with great family support, De Sota decided his diabetes wouldn’t hinder his goals or athletic capabilities. A friend of his mom’s lent him a road bike to take part in one of JDRF’s Tour de Cure, a charitable bike ride for type 1 diabetes research. It was then that his love of cycling started to blossom.
De Sota never looked back and started competing seriously by 19 and won the elite California State Track Cycling Championship (2018). He attended Team Novo Nordisk’s annual talent ID camp in 2019 and quickly impressed the team, earning a spot on the 2020 development team.
Off the bike, De Sota has a keen interest in physical therapy, and along with the support from his family, raising awareness for type 1 diabetes and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.