Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, is bringing four of its best development team athletes—Swiss Oliver Behringer, Australians Declan Irvine and Sam Munday, and Uzbekistani Ulugbek Saidov onto the men’s pro squad for the 2019 season. Behringer and Irvine have been racing as stagiaires with the team since August.
“Since the team’s launch, our development program has always been a place where we’ve allocated significant resources because we know it is essential to invest in athletes with diabetes to help them develop so they can race at the professional level,” Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland said. “The riders that come out of this program arrive as influential ambassadors for the diabetes community with an unwavering drive and enthusiasm to be in the professional ranks. All four of these athletes serve as further proof on how we are changing diabetes, and I am particularly excited to have our first Uzbekistani rider, Ulugbek Saidov, move up to the pro ranks.”
All four riders have raced at least two seasons as part of Team Novo Nordisk’s development pipeline, and through hard work and dedication they’ve made significant progress and earned their spots on the pro squad. Team Novo Nordisk already announced Behringer and Irvine racing as stagiaires.
“Moving four riders up to the pro team proves the continued success of our pipeline. All year long we actively recruit new athletes and feel proud when their hard work pays off and earns them a professional contract,” Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko said. “Ulugbek has solid climbing potential and Sam is an all-around rider. Initially, our goal is for them to work closely with our coaches and sports directors to continue improving their skills. We hope to start seeing results from them in two to three years from now.”
Australian Sam Munday began racing at 15, four years after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He grew up with supportive parents and an encouraging healthcare team that reassured him to continue leading an active childhood after his diagnosis. Munday discovered Team Novo Nordisk through a diabetes educator who put him in touch with former pro rider Justin Morris. Munday soon attended one of the team’s Talent ID programs in Atlanta, GA and earned a place on Team Novo Nordisk’s development squad where he has raced for the past two years.
“I am extremely honored, excited and proud to pull on the pro jersey next season. It means so much to me to represent the team at the highest level and pursue my career as a professional athlete, all while representing the millions of people with type 1 diabetes around the world,” the 19-year-old Munday said. “My goals for 2019 are to learn as much as possible from my teammates, improve my time trialing skills, and develop my physical strengths, positive mind and overall wellbeing while enjoying every exciting opportunity that gets thrown my way.”
The 22-year-old Ulugbek Saidov hails from Tashkent, Uzbekistan and will be Team Novo Nordisk first professional rider from Central Asia. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was nine years old. Tashkent is home to the Queen Sport Project, a cycling club designed for exclusively for youth with diabetes. Saidov joined the unique project when he was 15 and attended one of Team Novo Nordisk’s talent ID camps the following year. Initially, he raced for Team Novo Nordisk’s junior team. Through motivation and dedication, Saidov improved on both his diabetes management and bike handling skills and earned a spot on Team Novo Nordisk’s development squad in 2017.
“I’ve been striving to move up to the pro team and I am beyond proud to represent Team Novo Nordisk in the pro ranks which I recognize comes with a big responsibility,” Saidov said. “These past few years have played a significant role in helping me form a strong foundation in cycling and diabetes management. I know this first year won’t be easy, but I’m focused on every detail to learn and grow in pro cycling and my personal development.”
All athletes throughout Team Novo Nordisk’s pipeline race with type 1 diabetes. Since its launch in December 2012, the organization has focused heavily on identifying and developing athletes from around the world with diabetes through its talent ID camps, junior team, and development team.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed with Ulugbek’s development over the years; he serves as inspiration for everyone with diabetes in Uzbekistan and the effectiveness of the Queen Sport Project,” Southerland said. “Sam is mature beyond his years and genuinely is a great human being. He is a fighter in the races and I’m excited to see how he develops.”
Team Novo Nordisk will announce its full 2019 roster in a separate announcement.