Team rider Martijn Verschoor monitors his blood glucose at the start of stage 3 in Turkey.
"Tuesday was a big mountain stage for the Tour of Turkey, and all of the teams worked hard to try and get up higher in the overall classification. On Wednesday the race distance was shorter than average, and the elevation profile, at least on paper, favored the sprinters over the climbers," said Davidenko.
"Martijn has had very good control of his diabetes this year, and his racing reflects this. Last year his appearance in the Tour of Turkey was his first big race as a professional, and he learned a lot about himself, his diabetes and his ability to overcome any obstacles in his path. This year that accumulation of knowledge has translated into confidence and turned him into a leader on the team. The fact that he has diabetes only makes him stronger," Davidenko said.
Based in Atlanta, Team Type 1-Sanofi was founded by Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge in order to compete in the 2005 Race Across America. An all-diabetic squad raced in and eventually won that race, in the process setting the record in their category for crossing the continent.
Since then the organization has expanded to include a Professional Continental cycling team, taking on a slate of committed amateur athletes with diabetes seeking to challenge themselves as ultra-marathoners, triathletes and cyclists.
"We have a family of more than 150 people at Team Type 1, riding, running and racing with diabetes to show that the disease is no obstacle to an extraordinary live," Southerland said.
Five of the 23 professional cyclists on Team Type 1-Sanofi have type 1 diabetes.
"The clearest path to effective diabetes management is good control, and that comes with the help of the right technology, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. At Team Type 1 our mission is to inspire people affected by diabetes to take control of their lives," Southerland said.
Colli, from Italy, was assisted in the final 20km of the sunny and warm 135km fourth stage by teammate Kiel Reijnen down a swift descent on smoothly paved highway roads into the coastal resort town of Marmaris.
"Kiel had me in just the right position for the final two kilometers, and there were two or three big turns in there and a section of paving stones that kicked up a lot of dust. At 400 meters to go when we made the final left turn for the finish line I was in fifth spot, and I was able to make a good sprint to the line for third," Colli said.
Thousands of people came out to the side of the road to watch the race pass by on Wednesday, waving Turkish flags and cheering as the peloton sped through stage four. More than 190 riders began the stage just after one p.m., and the pack quickly split up into three main groups over a series of short but steep climbs out of one valley and into the next.
Team Type 1-Sanofi rider Martijn Verschoor, who has diabetes and must monitor his blood glucose continuously and periodically take insulin or carbohydrates to manage the disease, said the heat and sun was less of a challenge than the overall fatigue of racing against some of the best teams in the world.
"My blood glucose level at the beginning of the stage was 220, which is a bit high. I took one unit of insulin and was a stable 160 for the race, and after the finish I came back to the team van for some water and saw I was back up to 240 after three hours of going up and down the hills," Verschoor said.
Photo: Team Type 1