Charles Planet has been part of Team Novo Nordisk for six years but has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 15 years, the professional cyclist tells Firstaid4sport about his journey from being diagnosed to competing around the world in the world’s first all diabetic cycling team.
Planet was diagnosed in March 2003 at just 10-years-old, at such a young age the Frenchmen was unaware of the disease and what impact this news would have on him, therefore Planet never stopped believing he could achieve his dreams.
“I was really young at the time and didn’t understand but my parents did. They helped me all the way through the learning experience until I could be independent.
“I never thought my dreams were over. I learned to live with diabetes and I never gave up,” said Planet.
Planet’s father was a professional cyclist, so it was unsurprising that at the age of eight Planet took an interest in mountain biking and despite his diagnosis continued to compete from a young age in cycling competitions.
“My father was doing a lot of sport. I went together with my parents to watch a Mountain Bike race and I fell in love with that sport,” Planet added.
Planet became successful in his mountain biking efforts and was part of the wining squad at the 2013 French National Mountain Bike Team Relay Championship and after some pressure from his parents Planet decided to email Team Novo Nordisk with his resume making the switch to road cycling.
“My parents discovered the team. They knew about Team Type 1 (Team Novo Nordisk’s predecessor) and they encouraged me to send an e-mail with a resume of my cycling results.
“The team offered me a place on the development team for a month and a half in Atlanta, GA in the US. After some solid results, they offered me a spot in the pro team,” Planet said.
Planet is proud of how Team Novo Nordisk aim to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes and sees everyone affected by diabetes as part of the team. Planet said;
“I’m really proud of our mission and it always makes me happy to see that we are changing lives everywhere we go in the world.
“Everyone with diabetes is a part of Team Novo Nordisk, not just us on the pro team. We see everyone as part of this family.”
Team Novo Nordisk Co-founder and CEO Phil Southerland called the team a ‘hero factory’ and described the riders as’ the heroes I wish I had when I was growing up.’
This is something Planet himself experienced growing up and now hopes to inspire everyone affected by diabetes.
“I never met someone else with diabetes and nobody helped me learn to live with diabetes. I only had my family as my role models. Then I discovered Team Novo Nordisk and this whole thing started.
“I always try to do my best on the bike and in life to inspire people with diabetes,” said Planet.
Having been with the team for six full season Planet has achieved success and seen the team grow every year to where it is now, but there is one stand out moment for Planet.
“My biggest achievement is definitely taking home the most combative jersey at the end of a World Tour race—the Tour of Poland.
“I fought the entire week, every stage, and it was amazing to get this jersey at the World Tour,” Planet said.
Looking ahead Planet has some just two aims he wants to achieve while he is still on his bike, but the Frenchmen has some plans for after he finishes racing but is keeping them to himself.
“Win and make people happy by what we do.
I have some ideas, but for now, I keep them to myself. At the moment, I’m focus on my cycling career and to do my best on the bike,” Planet added.