Dream team racers inspire father and son

Father and son Steve and Nathan Mitchell who are both diabetics and keen bike riders (s)
Father and son Steve and Nathan Mitchell who are both diabetics and keen bike riders (s)

The prestigious Tour of Britain is set to feature the first all-diabetes professional cycling team on Monday and among those cheering them on will be Clitheroe father and son Steve and Nathan Mitchell.

And Team Novo Nordisk have so much in common with the duo - a love of cycling and the condition diabetes.

Nathan was diagnosed with Type One diabetes last year when he was just 17 and he feared his dreams of becoming a professional cyclist were over. But when he heard about Team Novo Nordisk his attitude changed and he has been training daily in a bid to join them.

Nathan said: “When I was first diagnosed I felt like I wouldn’t be able to do anything again and definitely not sport so I couldn’t believe it when I found the team. I applied the join the same day.’’

Within a week Nathan was invited to travel to the USA to take part in the Team Novo Nordisk Talent ID camp where he had the opportunity to train with the professional cycling team.

The discovery has given Nathan a whole new outlook on life and also inspired his dad Steve, who suffers from Type 2 disabetes to get on his bike too.

Steve (53) said: “Nathan has inspired me to get out and do more exercise and it has become an important part of managing my own diabetes.

“We now cycle together regularly which helps to keep us both motivated.’’

Nathan’s goal now is to race for Team Novo Nordisk professionally. He said: “I want to show other people with diabetes that it doesn’t have to hold you back, you can still go on to achieve your dreams.’’

In the UK there are approximately 3.9 million people living with diabetes, including 61,970 adults in Lancashire alone. These numbers are increasing—every two minutes, another person receives a diabetes diagnosis.

The NHS spends 10% of its yearly budget on managing diabetes, amounting to £1million pounds every hour.

Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk says: “We are thrilled to be competing in the UK again this year. When diagnosed with diabetes, many people think it means they won’t be able to live life the way they’d hoped.

“We’re here to show people with diabetes that you can achieve your goals and live life well through good control. That’s exactly what we’re doing here in the UK.”