Team Type 1-Sanofi wraps up its most successful week ever at the Tour of Austria
Colli, from Italy, outsprinted a full peloton in the hot Austrian summer sunshine at the end of 122km to wrap up an enormously successful week for the American professional continental squad. Teammate Alessandro Bazzana won the overall points classification to take the red sprinter's jersey and Georg Preidler came in safely on Sunday to secure his King of the Mountains win as well.
"I have been in the Top-10 21 times this year, andon the podium seven times without coming to the top step. Today with the help of my teammates I have a victory for the first time at this level, and for the first time since I had cancer," Colli said.
Colli was diagnosed with a malignant tumor on his knee in late 2010, and stepped away from professional racing for more than six months to treat the disease. He underwent a bone graft and therapy before coming back with a Spanish professional continental squad, and signed with Team Type 1-Sanofi for 2012.
"Javier Megias worked so hard for me in the final kilometer, and brought me up to the front of the peloton with 700 meters to go. At 300m I saw another rider start the sprint, and so I looked back to see who was coming. The lane was clear in front, and I took my bike to the line for the win. It was the greatest feeling of satisfaction I have had in a long time," Colli said.
Team Type 1-Sanofi General Manager Vassili Davidenko said the Tour of Austria was the high point of the 2012 season so far.
"We won two stages with two different riders, we took the points jersey and the King of the Mountains classification as well. For an American team at this level we have had our share of success this year, but it has come in small portions every month. In France in February, in the Netherlands and Belgium in March, in Korea in April, at Philly in May, in Canada in June. To have so much to celebrate in July in one week in Austria is a great testament to the hard work and professionalism of the riders, the staff and the management at Team Type 1-Sanofi," Davidenko said.
Bazzana crossed the line safely on Sunday to sew up the red points classification and take the sprinter's jersey, and said he was satisfied with the achievement and hungry to move on to his next goal.
"As an athlete I am very proud of this sprinter's jersey and all of the hard work that I along with the rest of the squad put into keeping it all week. I want to take a week to rest from the past two months of racing, then get up to altitude camp for a good block of solid training for the second half of the season," Bazzana said.
Megias, from Spain, has type 1 diabetes and must monitor his blood glucose continuously and periodically take insulin to manage the disease. He finished Sunday in high spirits after Colli's stage victory.
"Javi worked hard all week to keep good control of the jerseys, both in the sprints and in the mountains. He sacrificed his own chances at personal success for the sake of the team, and he was instrumental in keeping the pace high and controlling the breakaways every day," Davidenko said.
Team Type 1-Sanofi CEO and Co-Founder Phil Southerland said the diabetes community was over the moon with pride at the successes this week in the Tour of Austria.
"When fans with diabetes come up to the riders and thank them for making a difference, it means we have succeeded in creating a community that reaches out to spread a message of hope and inspiration. It means we have created a cycling team that not only wins races and competes against the best in the world at the most prestigious events, but also helps to show the benefits of good diabetes control. There is no greater victory for Team Type 1-Sanofi," Southerland said.
Photos: Mario Stiehl