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Phil Southerland:"The long term goal is to get a team of Type 1's into the Pro Tour."

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26.12.2007/ Two-time winners of the Race Across America (RAAM), Team Type 1 will join the ranks of professional cycling in 2008, bringing with them the inspirational message that athletes with diabetes can compete and win at the highest levels of sport with good control of their diabetes. Team Type 1 was founded by Joe Eldridge and Phil Southerland and has great ambitions: "The long term goal is to get a team of Type 1's into the Pro Tour status, and race the Tour de France." An interview with Team Type 1 rider and co-founder Phil Southerland.

© Team Type 1
Team Type 1 in the moutains of California ( Team Type 1)

Cyclingheroes: You were part of the winning eight men team at the 2007 Race Across America. All athletes have diabetes 1. Is it difficult to compete at such a high level with Type 1 diabetes?

Phil Southerland: I would have to say that it is difficult to race period.  Bike racing is a sport where small adjustments are key to success, and diabetes just adds an additional layer to the adjustment side.  We have to be very aware of our nutrition, and if all is perfect in regards to blood sugars, we are good.  The trick is when you eat too much, or give too much rapid acting insulin, such as Apidra, where we can begin to have trouble.  10 years ago I would say diabetes was a disadvantage, but with the advancements in technology (insulin, continuous glucose monitors, and my wireless insulin pump) the playing field is now getting close to level.

Cyclingheroes: Team Type 1 does not have a title sponsor but it has a strong message to support people with diabetes. What kind of feedback do you receive?

Phil Southerland: Actually we do have a title sponsor in Apidra, which is the rapid acting insulin that everyone on the team uses.  They are the reason we get to line up next year with guys like Matt Wilson to really broaden the message.  The support from people with diabetes, and the diabetes industry has been phenomenal.  I have been fortunate to meet people who get excited when I share my dreams, and then in turn support me in achieving them. 

I have gotten emails ranging from thanks for what you are doing for diabetes, to you changed my life and because of Team Type 1, I am going to take the small steps so that I have my eyesight in 20 years.  The emails from people showing support are truly what make my day.
 
Cyclingheroes: Is the insuline that people with diabetes need different from the insuline on the WADA list or do the riders with diabetes have a medical exemption from the UCI?
 
Phil Southerland: The insulin we use is in fact banned. I guess you could say we are the only riders who are so open about the fact that we take a banned substance, not to go faster, but to stay alive.  We are in the process of getting our exemptions from the UCI, and will have them in place before any competition in 2008.

Cyclingheroes: The team was founded in 2004. Can you tell us more about the early days?
 
Phil Southerland: The early days were brainstorming and selling t-shirts.  I sold t-shirts to anyone and everyone, and raised enough money to do a JDRF charity ride. At the ride we came up with the RAAM [Race Across America] idea, and then it was full speed ahead to finding companies we could promote in our effort.  I was lucky enough to have a great Doctor, Bruce Bode, who put me in touch with Abbott Diabetes Care to make the first dream of winning the Race Across America come true.  After that, the show of support has really allowed this program to take off.

Cyclingheroes: The team will have continental status in 2008, what is the long term goal of the team? Will we see Team Type 1 at the Tour de France someday?
 
Phil Southerland: The long term goal is to get a team of Type 1's into the Pro Tour status, and race the Tour de France.  We hope to have riders with type 1 in the tour in 4-5 years.  My bet is on Fabio Calabria, from Canaberra, Australia.  Fabio is a super talent on the bike, and we got connected because he has diabetes also.   I am excited to see what he can do with the team's support next year!

Cyclingheroes: Team Type 1 signed Matt Wilson. Who will be his team mates and who are the sports directors?
 
Phil Southerland: Matt brings a solid leader to what was already a great team.  Having a guy like Matt will give each rider confidence in doing their job, cause they know he can win.  It will help each rider to step up their game, and also give us some wild card opportunities throughout the season.  We have the full roster up on teamtype1.org
We have Tom Schuler has the overall manager, and Ed Beamon as the director sportif.  We really have a top notch team of supporters from our Sponsors, management, mechanics (The A-Team) and of course the riders!  We want to work hard to get Matt on top of the podium as often as possible.  With his comeback from cancer, and the riders with diabetes, our team extends a message that most can relate to.  We all have something to overcome, some harder than others. But if you can overcome those difficulties, and work hard on whatever your passion is, there is no dream to big to make happen.

Cyclingheroes: What programm will the team race in 2008?

Phil Southerland: The program is still being decided.  We really hope to get an invite to the Tour of California, and all major US  races, along with a few international stage races over the year.

Team Type 1 roster 2008
(* indicates riders with Type 1 diabetes):

Abraham, Emile; 34; Trinidad & Tobago

Aldape Chavez, Moises; 27; Mexico

Anthony, Jesse; 23; USA

Brooks, Ben; 29; Australia

*Calabria, Fabio; 21; Australia

Chadwick, Glen; 32; New Zealand

*Eldridge, Joe; 26; USA

*Hargave, Tim; 23; New Zealand

Holt, Dan; 27; USA

Jones, Chris; 29; USA

Kobzarenko, Valeriy; 31; Ukraine

Macgregor, Ian; 25; USA

Milne, Shawn; 27; USA

*Southerland, Phil; 26; USA

Wilson, Matt; 31; Australia

2008 Team Type 1 Development Team
(all riders with Type 1 diabetes):

Bartels, Nathan; 26; USA

Bowden, Alex; 19; USA

Brooks, Matt; 21; USA

Hanley, Monique; 30; Australia

Mead, Andy; 30; USA

Patton, Morgan; 20; USA

Powell, Tim; 41; USA

Schrank, Bob; 40; USA

Suprenant, Mark; 44; USA

More information about Team Type 1: http://www.teamtype1.org

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