Team Type 1 – SANOFI rider Kiel Reijnen wore yellow on the final day of racing at the Tour of Rwanda, crossing the finish line on Saturday in triumph as overall champion and lifting his arms in victory.
Reijnen, who lives in Colorado, said he was grateful for the win at the end of a long, dark season of illness and recovery.
“This race was tough, because it was chaos trying to control the peloton on such a hilly course. Every day my teammates got out there and rode their legs off to keep this jersey for me, and I’m really glad to be back healthy, racing like normal again. I hope Rwanda is just the first of a long list of good things to come with Team Type 1,” Reijnen said.
Reijnen, riding in his first year with Team Type 1 – SANOFI, fell ill in February, and was unable to race throughout the season. After a long ordeal of diagnosis, treatment and recovery from a virus, he was able to resume full training at the end of August, and cleared for competition at the Tour of Rwanda.
“What can I say but thanks? I’m super thankful for the team’s faith in me. Vassili Davidenko and Phil Southerland signed me up last year based on my overseas race success and a podium finish at the National Championships. It was not projected that 2011 would be spent on the couch, and they stuck by me when I got sick and put their faith in me for the Tour of Rwanda,” Reijnen said.
Southerland, CEO and Founder of Team Type 1, said Reijnen’s overall victory helped to spread the team’s larger diabetes outreach message in Africa.
“Team Type 1 is now famous in Rwanda. Every day thousands of fans stood on the side of the road and shouted Kiel’s name, and at the end we had huge groups of people with diabetes coming to see us, meet with our riders, our doctors and hear about the benefits of good diabetes control,” Southerland said.
Team Type 1 – SANOFI rider Joey Rosskopf finished second in the Tour of Rwanda, and won stage three, his first victory as a stagiaire after coming to the men’s professional squad at Team Type 1 – SANOFI in August from the development team.