Turning professional with Team Novo Nordisk back in 2018, 28-year-old Sam Brand has continued to develop with 2019 yielding some impressive results including wearing the King of the Mountains jersey for one stage at the Tour of Estonia and eventually finishing second overall in the mountains classification, finishing 16th overall at the Tour of Taihu Lake and laying down strong rides at WorldTour races including Milano-Sanremo, Amgen Tour of California and the UAE Tour. All these strong performances point to a positive 2020 season ahead for the Manxman.
Brand’s Team Novo Nordisk career officially began as a member of the elite triathlon team. In 2013, following his qualification to race at the ITU World Championships, he gained the attention of Team Novo Nordisk and joined the program the following season. In 2014, he finished 12th in his age group at the Nottingham Triathlon, a World Championship qualifier. The following year, he finished second at the British Triathlon Championships. After graduating from university in 2015, Brand decided to focus exclusively on cycling and moved over to Team Novo Nordisk’s development squad in the 2016 season.
Following a strong showing with the development squad, Brand debuted in the pro ranks as a stagiaire in August 2017 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, also known as America’s Toughest Stage Race. He credits being selected as a stagiaire as the result of extremely hard work, dedication and support from his friends and family. Based on his performances at the Tour of Utah, Colorado Classic, Tour of China I & II and Tour of Hainan, he received his first professional contract for the 2018 season.
During his first pro season, he represented the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games and successfully completed the longest one-day race on the UCI calendar, Milano-Sanremo after being added to the roster to the 300-kilometer race just days before.
Back in his final year of primary school, Brand experienced the usual diabetes symptoms and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10. Brand’s friends, family and medical team were very supportive of him returning to football, basketball and all the other activities that he loved. He says his diagnosis had no negative impact on his childhood and is grateful for how his family and surrounding community handled the adjustment.
Throughout high school, the Isle of Man native competed in a variety of sports. His father competed for Great Britain at the triathlon age group level, so the younger Brand soon started competing in local triathlons. It wasn’t until his first year at university that he took the sport seriously. He quickly excelled and within a year found himself representing Great Britain at the 2013 ITU World Championships.