“Seeing how we change people’s life, not just those living with type 1 diabetes, but also their families, is truly amazing. Being able to make a mother and father realize that their kid has a future similar to anyone else or seeing a young boy or girl find out that they can pursue their dreams makes me feel blessed to be part of this team.”
When Team Novo Nordisk launched as an all-diabetes pro cycling team, Thomas Raeymaekers served as one of the squad’s strongest and youngest riders. As a rider, he was a true domestique who thrived in the tough conditions of Northern European spring classics-style racing along with having tremendous descending abilities.
In 2015, Raeymaekers retired from racing and switched over to the coaching side of the sport. He has served a sport director for Team Novo Nordisk’s junior team for four seasons.
Since childhood, Raeymaekers only dreamed of being a professional cyclist. The Belgian started competing at the age of 10. As a junior, he was consistently on the podium and rode for the same team as the UCI junior world champion at the time. When he was 17, he unexpectedly lost 8 kilograms and was hospitalized. While in the hospital, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. To pass time during his admittance, he watched the Tour of Turkey.
Initially, Raeymaekers doubted that he could continue racing, but after discovering Team Novo Nordisk, he realized it was possible to have diabetes and compete. He reached out to Team Novo Nordisk for guidance and by the following year, Raeymaekers had signed with the professional squad.
As someone who never dreamed of anything but becoming a professional racer, Raeymaekers feels Team Novo Nordisk allowed him to achieve his dream. Raeymaekers considers finishing the Tour of Turkey — the same race that kept him entertained while in the hospital — his biggest professional racing accomplishment. Off the bike, Raeymaekers enjoys spending time with his wife and son.
Since transitioning into becoming a Team Novo Nordisk ambassador, Raeymaekers realizes even more now how important it is for the world to see the mission behind Team Novo Nordisk.