Team Type 1, in its first year as a professional team after having won twice the Race Across America corporate team division, will be among 15 squads at this year's Tour de Georgia, slated from April 21-27.
"This is great news for Team Type 1, and it is a major stepping stone toward our hopes of getting to the Tour de France in 2012," team founder Phil Southerland said. "Being a native of Georgia, it means the world to me to be able to take part in the biggest race in the state, if not one of the most prestigious in the entire country."
Team Type 1 was founded in 2004 by racers Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge to inspire people living with diabetes to overcome the obstacles often associated with the condition. Four of the 15 riders on the Team Type 1 professional squad - Southerland, Eldridge, Tim Hargrave and Fabio Calabria - have Type 1 diabetes.
"For the first time, we'll have riders with diabetes racing against guys who will be competing in the Tour de France," Eldridge added. "This is our opportunity to show the diabetes community, as well as fans of pro cycling, what we are able to achieve."
The eight racers who will represent Team Type 1 in the race will be announced at a later date by Team Type 1 sport director Ed Beamon and assistant sport director Vassili Davidenko. Beamon said the squad will have its sights set on a stage win and not necessarily the overall individual or team classification.
"With the terrain that Georgia presents - up and down and rolling - we'll put a squad together that will be good in that arena," Beamon said. "Field sprints won't be for us and realistically, with the climb up Brasstown Bald mountain (on stage 6) being such a decisive element in the classification, trying to win the race overall would be a real reach for us. However, that stage will be a good opportunity for Chris Jones to show what he can do."
Team Type 1 has already experienced success this season on the international stage, having finished runner-up at the Tour de Taiwan with Shawn Milne last week and second in the team classification at the Tour of Langkawi in Malaysia in February.
Next up for Team Type 1 is the San Dimas Stage Race in San Dimas, California, March 28-30.