By Quentin Valognes | Published 30 April 2018
Type 1 diabetes patient and Team Novo Nordisk professional cyclist Quentin Valognes shares his decision to dream big despite his diagnosis, and how that perseverance lead to his recent Sprint Jersey win in Dubai.
Cycling runs in my blood. My father is a well-known cycling commentator, my brother is a current French National cycling champion, and my sister races on the French National team, all of which has fueled my own cycling dreams. Dreams are not always easy to accomplish but I was determined to chase them – even after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age six.
By the age of 12, I was already competing and working to become a sprinter. When I was about 14 everything changed; I met members of Team Novo Nordisk and I realized I didn’t need to fight against my diabetes, instead I would fight with it. Working with the Novo Nordisk cycling team, I learned to accept my diagnosis as simply a part of who I am, just as I do my freckles.
Fun fact: I have a name for my diabetes. Much like you would name a pet, I’ve named my diabetes “Diab.” To take care of Diab, I make sure to pay attention to what I eat and drink, and wear a continuous glucose monitor to help keep me within my target range. The approach is similar to the approach I take with my cycling training; I monitor what I put in to make sure I can get peak performance out. Making dreams happen sometimes takes an extra step or two.
In February 2018, I won my first Intermediate Sprint Jersey on the Dubai Tour. I was racing against the best riders in the world, including guys that made me want to become a cyclist in the first place! Winning at that level was an awesome accomplishment for Team Novo Nordisk, and my dream for a very long time.
Winning the Intermediate Sprint Jersey on the Dubai Tour proved to me I can always do something bigger than I expect of myself. For anyone else out there with diabetes and a dream, I say don’t let the disease get in your way.
Over the years my dream has grown a bit and now my team and I race to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes, and that includes each other. We’ve improved and grown physically and mentally stronger over the years, and I’m proud of our progress. In the end there are no vacations from diabetes, and I have to stay on top of it. It’s not always easy, but if you go big and go all in you can accomplish your dreams.
About Team Novo Nordisk:
Team Novo Nordisk is a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists, triathletes and runners, spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. Comprised of nearly 100 athletes from over 20 countries, Team Novo Nordisk competes in more than 500 international events each year.
Team Novo Nordisk aims to inspire, educate and empower people around the world affected by diabetes. For more information, visit www.teamnovonordisk.com.
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Chanda Copple is a type 1 diabetes patient, a registered nurse, and certified diabetes educator with Novo Nordisk’s Education Program. She’s passionate about helping others feel empowered to manage their diabetes and live healthy lives.