ATLANTA - Team Type 1-Sanofi will spend July in the mountains, racing in the Tour of Qinghai Lake from Friday for two weeks in north central China.
Racing at the 13-stage Tour of Qinghai Lake will all happen at an average altitude of 2400m above sea level, and climb to almost 4000m after more than a week of competition. Team Type 1-Sanofi rider Kiel Reijnen, who finished 3rd overall at the race in 2010, said it is a race that requires specific preparation.
"The altitude is really hard to adapt to if you don't come in with the right training. There are so many moments in a bike race where you have to work to close a gap or cover a stretching peloton in a turn at an intersection. The effort to regain position is part of every stage in every race, but at 3000m those little efforts are so hard to recover from if you aren't prepared, and you can find yourself in the red and lose contact with the race," Reijnen said.
Team Type 1-Sanofi roster for the 13-stage Tour of Qinghai Lake, China - Jun 29-Jul 12:
Julien Antomarchi - FRA
FabioCalabria* - AUS
Daniele Callegarin - ITA
Aldo Ino Ilesic - SLO
Kiel Reijnen - USA
Joey Rosskopf - USA
* - professional cyclist with type 1 diabetes
Team Type 1-Sanofi CEO and Founder Phil Southerland said racing at the Tour of Qinghai Lake would serve to bring awareness to the diabetes community in China.
"Chinese statistics for diabetes are absolutely skyrocketing, and one of the great tragedies is that more often than not a diagnosis is looked upon as a reason to exclude people with diabetes from society. So with an increasing population in the diabetes community and an increase in our ability to reach out and spread a message of hope and inspiration across China, we are very motivated to get up into the mountains and go for the podium," Southerland said.
Team Type 1-Sanofi General Manager Vassili Davidenko said Reijnen has put himself into top shape ahead of Qinghai Lake, but faces the same uncertainties as the rest of the peloton now that the race is 13 stages long.
"Kiel has had a very strong season. He was on the podium at US National Championships, and took the KOM prize and helped to lead the team to the win in Philadelphia. He specifically went up into the high mountains of Colorado with teammates Calabria and Ilesic to get the altitude training ahead of China, and he's as strong as he has ever been. But Qinghai Lake is now two weeks long, up from 10 days. It's going to be a tough race, with a lot of variables to try and control. We have a good team in place and will do everything we can to get out in front and lead," Davidenko said.
Based in Atlanta, Team Type 1-Sanofi has five professional cyclists with type 1 diabetes on a squad of 23 riders.
The mission of Team Type 1 is to spread a message of hope and inspiration to the diabetes community. With the proper technology, a healthy diet, plenty of exercise and good control, diabetes is no obstacle to an extraordinary life.