Team Type 1-Sanofi rider Javier Megias with a fan after taking 3rd at the GP Plumelec-Morbihan. Photo: Team Type 1-Sanofi
Team Type 1-Sanofi rider Javier Megias sprinted to a podium finish at the Grand Prix Plumelec-Morbihan circuit race in Bretagne on Saturday, powering away from the peloton on a kilometer-long climb in front of thousands of cycling-mad fans on a warm and sunny hillside.
Megias, from Spain, said his teammates worked early to break a large group of riders into a smaller one, and he was best positioned from Team Type 1-Sanofi to contest the sprint at the end of 181km.
"The final hill we came up 13 times on the circuits, and each time I was poking around at the front to see what the best position was. The last six laps were short, and Julien El Fares went to the front first and attacked and drew out the big teams. Each time around I was closer and closer to the front without having to waste too much energy. On the last climb I was about 20 riders back and the sprint took off with almost half a kilometer left. I passed a lot of people in the final 300 meters," Javier said.
Megias was struck down with pneumonia in his lungs in February after an unusually cold campaign of early-season racing in France, and spent more than one month out of competition. With good training in the hills around Madrid and a series of races in Belgium and France in the past six weeks, he said his athletic fitness is coming on strong in recovery.
"I'm feeling very fast now, and everything has been going well for my health. My diabetes control is on track, and I have really good legs under me for this week in France and then next at the Tour de Suisse," Megias said.
Megias, who has type 1 diabetes and must monitor his blood glucose continuously and periodically take insulin or eat carbohydrates to manage the disease, said he took three units of insulin in the second half of the race and then ate heartily before the finish.
"I was hungry. I waited until we got off the first big lap, then started doing the first set of six large loops with the climb. French races usually go early with the attacks, then settle down, but because this one was 50k before we hit the circuit, the pace was never very stable. Once I took the insulin I ate gels, bars and had some carbohydrate mix drinks before the finish," Megias said
Megias said he started the race with a BG of 127 and finished at just over 240.
Team Type 1-Sanofi General Manager Vassili Davidenko said Megias showed savvy race experience at the end of the day.
"The two riders ahead of him on the podium together have more than 20 Top-10 finishes and are the two winningest French sprinters in professional cycling this season. After recovering from some pretty serious health issues after so many below-freezing days of racing this year, Javi showed today what a strong, smart cyclist can do when the situation presents itself," Davidenko said.
Team Type 1-Sanofi CEO and Founder Phil Southerland called Megias a diabetes hero.
"He had a tough stretch at the beginning of the season with illness, and has taken the right amount of time to get back to his best. The proof of Javi's excellence is in his diabetes management - day in, day out one of the most difficult diseases to take control of. When you have the tools, when you take control, being a champion against some of the best in the world is doable," Southerland said.
Based in Atlanta, Team Type 1-Sanofi has 23 athletes on its Professional Continental squad, and more than 100 cyclists, marathoners and triathletes with diabetes on its six amateur squads. Five of the professional riders have type 1 diabetes.
You can see more photos and learn more about Team Type 1 on our website www.TeamType1.org