Team Type 1 could be the next Professional Continental team in the United States of America in 2011. Chief Executive Officer, Phil Southerland plans to submit the necessary application and corresponding fees to the International Cycling Union (UCI) this summer.
"This year, we have already planned on applying for the Professional Continental license into our budget so that we know we can make that investment," Southerland said. "I know what it is going to take and I'm very clear and educated, along with the management. We are working on what we need to have ready and the check that we have to write to be Pro Continental next year."
The team will also submit a request to join the biological passport program, a necessary step to ensure the UCI's consideration for "wild card" status. Entering the UCI's top level anti-doping structure compliments the team's existing internal anti-doping program headed by Paul Scott, President and Chief Science Officer at Scott Analytics.
"We have requested the documentation from the UCI and they will send the invitation package to us in July," Southerland said. "A part of the wild card is the blood passport program, so we will plan enrollment in that in 2011. We have our own internal program. All our riders will be tested and that is very important to me."
Team Type 1 was co-founded four years ago by Southerland and Joe Eldridge following a victory at the Race Across America (RAAM). All eight members of that winning team were Type 1 diabetic cyclists. It was that achievement that inspired Southerland and Eldridge to strive to put the first Type 1 diabetic rider in the Giro d' Italia in 2011 and the Tour de France in 2012.
"Diabetes is not going anywhere and we've done more for the diabetes world from an inspirational standpoint than what has ever been done before," Southerland said. "We are painting this yellow brick road for Type 1 and now Type 2 to walk on so that they, with control, can reach their dreams. 'What's your dream?', is what we ask people with diabetes."
"But, if we want to get to the Giro we can't just be a team with a great message, we have to be a team that wins races," he added.
The pro men's team maintained a UCI Continental license and it continues to add reinforcements to bolster its management, staff and roster each season in pursuit of its future ambition. Talk of stepping up to the Professional Continental ranks spread at the end of last year; however, a lack of knowledge about how much it costs to upgrade left the team behind for one more year, according to Southerland.
"It didn't work out in 2009, and I will put that on my shoulders because I wasn't fully aware of the investment needed last September to make that jump," Southerland said. "For a program of our size it will be an additional US$300,000 investment just to submit the application. We could have done it but our riders wouldn't have gotten paid and I wanted to pay them well."
"It was disappointing not to do it because it was our goal and I failed, but I am back up (to speed)," he continued. "You can make a mistake once - shame on you - make it again - shame on me - and I don't like to make the same mistakes twice. Everyone in this organization believes that we can be there. We are not there yet, but we are committed.
Southerland intends to transplant the professional men's service course to southern France and maintain its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2011. The team will run a duel race program in Europe and US, a plan that was introduced last year by competing in several events overseas.
Tentative events, some pending invitations, scheduled on the Team Type 1 international calendar this year include the Tour du Maroc, OCBC Cycle Singapore Criterium, Tour of Japan, Le Tour de Lankawi, Tour de Taiwan, Tour de Korea, Qinghai Lake, Circuit des Ardennes International, Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour, Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste - Trophee des Granitiers, the FBD Ras, Tour of Ireland and Tour of Rwanda.
"The only way we are going to have a successful product to sell is if we win the big races," Southerland said. "The Tour of California is our first big goal and we are extremely confident."
Sanofi Aventis and its brands Apidra and Lantus return as one of the leading financial sponsors of Team Type 1. Other returning sponsors include Dex 4 Glucose, Abbott Diabetes Care's Free Style Navigator and Omni Pod. The signed on Italian bike manufacturer Colnago and Biemme clothing and domestic sponsors Shimano, VSP Vision Care, Map My Ride, Limar and SpiderTech among others.
"Sanofi Aventis is a US-based sponsorship and they are helping us get to their global marketing unit," Southerland said. "They are generous enough to let us use some of our budget to race over seas this year because they support our vision of competing in the Giro d'Italia next year and Tour de France in 2012."