Team Novo Nordisk head up to the shores of Lake Lugano in Switzerland at the weekend for a return appearance at the prestigious GP Citta di Lugano with home rider Oliver Behringer excited to make his debut in the one-day race.
The world’s first all diabetes team boast a solid history in the 40-year-old race with their best result coming back in 2015 with Javier Megias in 7th followed by back-to-back top 40 finishes by Spanish climber David Lozano in 2016 and 2017.
Lozano will be back on Sunday and leads a strong team with experienced Hungarian Peter Kusztor and Italian sprinter Andrea Peron both back in action.
“Racing at home is always special,” began Behringer. “I know a lot of guys that raced on those laps before and I always wanted to race there, too. I know this area a little bit from previous training camps in this area and it’s going to be a tough race. Being the only Swiss race we will do this year, I want it to be a good one for the team. One we will remember!”
“This season is going well so far. I gained a lot of experience and had a good mix of racing and rest. I am sure that in the future this will help me to make another step forward. For now, I hope I can take profit from the race pace of all the previous races and take it as a last hard day before an easier period.”
Young Australian climber Sam Munday comes back into the team after a big block of training in Spain alongside Brit Sam Brand and versatile Italian Umberto Poli complete the line-up and after Joonas Henttala made history by winning the national championships in Finland on Sunday, the team will be carrying extra inspiration onto the lakeside roads.
“For sure this win gave everyone inspiration,” agreed Behringer. “We saw how quickly things can change. He hasn’t had his best season so far, but now we will only remember this win and rightly so. We will keep fighting to create more of these moments to remember.”
Following part of the traditional course from the first edition back in 1981 and part of the World Championships route from 1996, Sunday’s 180 kilometer parcours will be a tough war of attrition that usually whittles down the peloton to an elite bunch who go on to contest the final.
“We’re very happy to be returning to Switzerland for our fourth appearance at GP Citta di Lugano,” said General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “It’s a great race that has been good to us in the past and it’s doubly exciting for us this year as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin and also take to the start line with a home rider, Oliver Behringer.”
“After Joonas’ inspirational victory in the Finnish national championships on Sunday, we have renewed belief in the levels we can reach and what can be achieved by all people affected by diabetes around the world. GP Lugano is a hard race, but it is one that we know well, and we want to show ourselves at the weekend and try our best to be present at the business end of the race.”
Team Novo Nordisk at GP Citta di Lugano, Sunday 27th June:
Oliver Behringer (SUI, 25)
Sam Brand (GBR, 30)
Peter Kusztor (HUN, 36)
David Lozano (ESP, 32)
Sam Munday (AUS, 23)
Andrea Peron (IT, 32)
Umberto Poli (IT, 24)
— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com