Do not give up. If someone closes your door, try entering through the window.
Since joining the Team Novo Nordisk family as a junior rider back in 2016, Przemyslaw Kotulski has followed a solid arc of progression. He stepped up to the development team in 2019 and is set to continue that progression through 2020.
When Kotulski was only three years old, he fell ill and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Initially, his parents feared his life would be spent moving from hospital to hospital. They couldn’t imagine how he could experience a happy life with the condition and were afraid of what the future held. Additionally, the surrounding community was very fearful, and everyone thought Kotulski’s future was grim. People even recommended that he remain at home for school.
Yet Kotulski and his parents were stubborn, determined, and motivated. Together, they helped Kotulski have a traditional childhood. He returned to being a happy, lively boy and took to wearing his insulin pump in a small backpack so he could remain active. At age 7, he took up fencing and won five gold medals, four silver and nine bronze medals across Poland and at international competitions as a junior.
In 2011, Kotulski’s father took him to see the Tour de Pologne, which helped ignite his passion for cycling. Throughout middle school, he continued to fence but in his free time, he began to compete in bike races. He took second in the mini Tour de Pologne and soon realized he could no longer juggle both cycling and fencing. He would need to pick one sport to focus his efforts upon. While he liked fencing, he decided that he loved cycling. By 2014, he was fully committed to training and racing.
Soon he reached out to Team Novo Nordisk and was invited to attend one of the team’s summer Talent ID camps in 2015. He returned from the experience even more motivated to find success on the bike and was invited to join Team Novo Nordisk’s junior team for the 2016 season.
In addition to road racing, Kotulski also wanted to try track racing. Accompanied by his father, they would drive 300 kilometers to the closest track where they would sleep in the car, eat packed food and handle all diabetes management from inside the car. In 2016 and on the same track, Kotulski took home the bronze medal at the Polish National Track Championships in the Madison.
Additional accolades in Kotulski’s short career include fourth place in the team sprint and eighth place in the individual time trial at the Polish National Track Championships (2016), 10th at the Polish National Junior Road Race Championship (2016), second in the junior category at the Tour of America’s Dairyland (2016) and two top tens on stages at the 2017 Tour de l’Abitibi, a premier junior world stage race.
Off the bike, Kotulski is interested in aviation and auto mechanics.