“This jersey is for my parents, especially my mother. She was the true fighter during my childhood after I was diagnosed with diabetes,” Planet said. “My family taught me to be a fighter, and I’m so proud to earn this jersey and show my true character.”
Planet was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 10 years old and initially thought his life was over. But his family helped him resume a normal childhood that included sports. Planet, who is a former Lorraine mountain bike and cyclocross champion, was also part of the winning squad at the 2013 French National Mountain Bike Team Relay Championship. Last month, the 24-year-old took fourth in the French National Championship MTB Marathon.
“This podium and jersey are so much bigger than me. I can’t put into words how much I wish this team existed when I was a teenager. It would have given me so much hope knowing that I could believe in myself,” Planet explained. “I hope everyone with diabetes sees this jersey and knows it is for all of us. Together, we are fighters.”
Friday’s race saw the peloton tackle a 178.4-kilometer race from Naestved to Vordingbord. Riders attacked from kilometer zero and Planet grabbed a wheel. The five-man group worked well together and earned a maximum gap of 5:15. Planet took maximum points in the hill classification, won the first intermediate sprint and was runner-up through the second one. The standout ride earned the Frenchman the Julemaerkefonden Fighter Jersey. The break held off the peloton until the final lap. In the bunch sprint, Tim Merlier (Verandas Willems-Crelan) took the win.
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, continues racing on Saturday with Stage 4 of the Tour of Denmark. The 19.1-km individual time trial starts and finishes in Nykobing Falster.