ROAD CYCLING: “The break away is our number one goal” says Novo Nordisk rider Joonas Henttala, prior to Milan – San Remo. The all diabetes team arrives in Italy with a mission in the first monument of the season.
“Our goal is first of all to make it to the break away. Well put all of our riders in the front at the start of the race, and follow all attacks” says the 24-year-old Finn Joonas Henttala. “It usually takes 20 or 30 km with full on attacking from the other teams. We will try to follow them, or even try to create our own move. The goal is to have one guy in one of those moves”
Last years Milan – San Remo turned out to be a success for the first ever professional all diabetes cycling team, Team Novo Nordisk. With one man in the breakaway, the team got valuable screen time. At the same time, Joonas Henttala and his teammates Javier Megias, Charles Planet and Kevin De Mesmaeker was the first ever riders with diabetes to finish Milan – San Remo.
“The goal this year is first of all to make it to the break away, and then try to finish a bit better than last year” says Henttala, who finished 146th last year, 15 minutes behind the winner John Degenkolb.
Team Novo Nordisk
Team Novo Nordisk is much more than a professional cycling team. With a continuous focus on being an inspiration for people world wide living with diabetes, the riders devote their time to develop diabetes management. Without being as famous as Team Sky or BMC, Team Novo Nordisk is the professional cycling team with the most likes on Facebook (almost 2 million likes.). Their inspirational role should therefore not be underestimated.
Participation in World Tour races is therefore alfa omega. Although the riders are far from capable of winning the race, the team thrives on the opportunity of showing themselves among the best riders in the world. Thus, a rider in the break away is understandably a goal.
The ambitious Fin Joonas Henttala claims the first 20 to 30 kilometres will be decisive. Asked about the possibility of bridging up to a break away after, Henttala answers “the moment the peloton sits up, the break away establishes a minute or two, and after that it’s difficult, because they are going full gas in the front. In Milano – San Remo, it never happens. The group that goes from the start is the break away”.
“The first 100 kilometres are usually pretty fast, but not too punishing” says Henttala. “People chat with friends and enjoy their ride, just keeping the breakaway reasonable. Then after hitting the coast, the pace picks up. From there its pressure to the pedals to the finish line. There is no bunch, just a long line of riders. The first rider could be an entire kilometre in front of you”.
“I think all of us are in good form, and I really hope one of us will make it. For the riders in the break away it will basically be a six hour suffer fest”