Team Novo Nordisk confirmed the contract renewals of four key riders for the upcoming 2022 season with experienced veterans David Lozano and Stephen Clancy putting pen to paper alongside young Australian Declan Irvine and French sprinter |Mehdi Benhamouda.
That time of year has come around again. The air is getting cooler, days are getting shorter. The nights are drawing in, the autumn light is golden, and contracts are being renewed, old faces remaining, and new ones announced.
“It’s a busy time of year, that’s for sure,” began General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “We always have an eye on squad development, structure and planning for the future, but the business really gets done as we hit the off-season. These four guys are all important to Team Novo Nordisk, to our past, present and future and we’re very happy to have confirmed extensions with all four.”
“David is one of our leaders and most consistent riders and what he brings to the team is not just measured by results, but also what he gives the younger guys like Declan, who showed us in 2021 what he’s capable of and his progression this year has been a real positive.”
Experienced Irishman Clancy is looking forward to what will be his tenth year with the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team and his commitment to carrying the team’s message of inspiring, educating and empowering around the world is what makes the 29-year-old an asset both on and off the bike.
“I am very happy to re-sign for 2022,” said Clancy. “After so long on the team it really does feel like home and it’s incredibly rewarding to be in a position to travel around the world racing my bike and changing diabetes. I am delighted to be able to keep on living the dream and be a part of this special team and community.”
Racing 8,900km over 55 days of competition in 2021, Spanish climber Lozano was once again one of the lynchpins of the team and also managed to fulfill a new mentor role for the development team at the Adriatica-Ionica race in Italy.
“I have been a part of the Team Novo Nordisk family since 2012 and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” said Lozano. “It’s been a difficult year for us, 2021 didn’t yield the results we expected, at least not as consistently as we wanted, and I know from all my years here that we can turn that around.”
“One of the best things about this past season has been our team spirit, sticking together when times have been difficult, everyone committed to their jobs and also that we managed to race a full calendar despite the global situation with COVID.
“But I think the highlight for me was racing Adriatica-Ionica with the devo team as a road captain and experiencing that leadership role with the young guys who are on the way up was unforgettable. Trying to help them and teach them through the race is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my career.”
Declan Irvine was flying through the wet final stage TT at the Tour of Denmark, showing the form and determination that had characterised his season before disaster struck. Taking a tight downtown Copenhagen corner at speed, the 22-year-old slid out, bounced up a curb and broke his leg. Somehow, he managed to finish the stage.
“I am really excited to get back to racing with the team again in 2022,” said Irvine. “I had a breakthrough season this year that was cut short due to breaking my leg in Denmark. I am well on the road to recovery now, back on the bike and looking to continue on this upwards trajectory next season beginning with my first ever elite National Championships in January.”
A top ten finish on the final stage of Belgrade Banjaluka in April served notice that French sprinter Benhamouda was starting to come into form and the 26-year-old had high hopes of a result at the Tour de Hongrie. However, those hopes were dashed after a crash on stage three took Benhamouda out of the race and into the ambulance with a broken collarbone.
After a protracted period of recovery, the Carcassone native returned to competition with a series of races on home soil at Limousin, Besancon and Jura. Doing enough to secure an extension into 2022.
“It is great to know that the team has placed their trust in me for again for next season,” said Benhamouda. “I am very happy and looking forward to the challenge. As always, I will give my best and my motivation is very high for next season. My main goal is to achieve good results as I have done in the past and get myself and Team Novo Nordisk onto the podium.”
— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com