A group of cyclists at the 2019 Tour de Rwanda are taking part to raise awareness about diabetes by showing that having the disease doesn’t hinder them from excelling in sports.
Made up of a group of five cyclists from Team Novo Nordisk — an American all-diabetes sports team of cyclists — the riders are taking part in the 2019 Tour du Rwanda.
“We use cycling as a platform because it’s one of the toughest endurance sports in the world, and one that is global. We keep working to prove everyone wrong and showcase what is possible with diabetes,” said Eva Marisa Tome, the media Manager for Team Novo Nordisk.
The chronic and incurable disease is largely preventable, but remains the cause of millions of deaths every year and many more life threatening complications.
According to the Diabetes Atlas, the diabetes prevalence in Rwanda is at 3.2 per cent and has been the cause of over 1,900 deaths every year.
The team officials said that the team's non-profit organisation — the Team Type 1 Foundation — has also brought diabetes blood glucose metre and test strips for those with the disease in the country.
According to Novo Nordisk team officials, taking part in the 2019 competition is meant to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by the disease.
Spanish rider David Lozano, who has type 1 di- abetes, described the competition as harder than last year’s after scooping ninth position on the third stage, which is the longest and covers 213.1 kilometres from Huye district to Rubavu district in Western province.
During the previous competition, Lozano won the penultimate 107.5km stage from Musanze to Kigali. Around 77 riders from over 25 countries across the globe are taking part in the 2019 Tour du Rwanda, which covers nearly 1,000 kilometres.
The competition started on February 24 up to March 3.