Sam Brand and Team Novo Nordisk faced a very difficult Tour of Utah that saw the fans show their love for Team Novo Nordisk as team member Stephen Clancy was awarded the America First Credit Union fan favorite jersey. The voting was open to the public, the jersey was based on the rider with the best ideals and professionalism in cycling, community or a charity. Stephen would wear the jersey with pride as he and the team rode the 151-kilometer second stage.
After stage three Sam Brand would post about the toughness of professional racing as that day’s stage was a straight uphill nine-kilometer time trial that was ridden on their road bikes and not the usual time trial bikes as they were not allowed for the stage. The pain from stage three went away quickly as the Team worked together to lead Fabio Calabria to a 10th place finish in a high-speed bunch sprint that saw John Murphy of Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team take the top spot on the podium.
Stage five showed the heart that Team Novo Nordisk rides with each and every day, Gerd De Keijzer and Fabio Calabria went down in a nasty mid race pileup. For anyone that has ridden a bike you know that the pavement doesn’t give and that the pain after any crash is tough to deal with. Both riders would finish stage five and start the next day at stage six. Team Novo Nordisk would finish the final stage with five riders, one with road rash and all the others exhausted from seven difficult stages that took them all over the great state of Utah. As Sam Brand finished the race in downtown Salt Lake City he did so with a couple of honors. He became the first Isle of Man native to ever complete the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and became the first Team Novo Nordisk stagiaire to complete his first professional race.
Each race is a step forward for Team Novo Nordisk but for the 2017 season I personally believe that no race has shown the heart that the team possess like the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Cycling is not only a physically demanding sport but a sport that tests you mentally as well. For a rider that crashes the pain is always with you and each stroke of the pedal brings a grimace to the face of any rider but Gerd De Keijzer and Fabio Calabria dug deep and knew that they had a job to do. They needed to keep going for their brothers, cycling is not about personal glory, it is about doing anything and everything for the team. The pain will go away when a teammate wins a stage or when you’re back on the bus and you hear from a teammate “You helped me finish the stage, without you I wouldn’t have finished.” It is about the family (team) as they sit on the bus together and crack jokes about a brother that brushes his teeth in bed.
Sam Brand showed what Team Novo Nordisk is all about this past week in Utah. Sam and the team continue to raise the bar show the world what is possible with diabetes. Team Novo Nordisk is looking to make the second half of the 2017 season the season of firsts and is off to a tremendous start as team members head to Colorado for the Colorado which will begin on Thursday. Be sure to check out my blog on Wednesday morning as I will experiment with providing a race preview.