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PEZ Talk: Team Type 1′s Phil Southerland
Things will be different at the Team Type 1 squad for 2011 as they recently received a UCI Pro Continental licence. Sponsored by Swiss drugs company Sanofi Aventis there are six riders on the 20 rider team with Type 1 diabetes. Whilst results are important to the team it’s mission is also to ‘spread the gospel’ about the control of and living with Type 1 diabetes. We spoke to team founder and head honcho, Phil Southerland about his plans for 2011 and the team’s recent participation in the Tour of Rwanda.

PEZ: How did the UCI break the news to you about your Pro Continental licence, Phil ?
Phil Southerland: We got an email the same day as the public announcement was made. We received a green light on all four criteria. Our staff have done a great job – they just locked themselves away until the job was done!

Southerland celebrates Team Type 1 victory at the Roswell Criterium earlier this season.

PEZ: Tell us about the bank guarantees aspect, please ?
PS: The bank guarantees are a bit of an alien concept to US banks – the sum is 25% of the project’s annual salary. It’s a lot of money but it’s necessary to protect the riders – you just need to look at what happened with Mercury!

We had a bit of hassle with our bank, they told us that they’d done what was required but actually hadn’t and caused us to miss the initial deadline – we got a slap on the wrist but got it sorted out for the final deadline.

Team Type 1 out training ahead of the Tour of Rwanda.

PEZ: How was Rwanda ?
PS: It was a brutal race, if you looked at the stage profiles in the race bible or on the website you had to allow for every hill being twice as long and twice as steep as it appeared!

The roads were good but there were extreme differences in terrain. We came into it off no racing; but the African nations had ridden the African Championships and Tour of Faso – they were in good shape.

I’d expected better performances but the likes of Alex Bowden toughed it out and found new limits. It’s the first time there’s been an all diabetic team in a UCI stage race. The race was only part of our mission to Rwanda; we were also there to give diabetes supplies to Rwandan children – we were warmly received.

PEZ: What about Eritrean sensation Daniel Teklehaimanot who won the GC ?
PS: Phenomenal – he attacked, he raced hard. I’d like to sign him but it would mean a lot of adjustments to our costs and guarantees after our budget has been finalised. But we’ve been talking to the UCI and we shall see!

At home he sleeps on the floor in the same room as his father, that puts things into perspective.

By the end of the race most of the teams were using Type 1 bottles and our guys gave away most of their kit – they’ll be getting new stuff for 2011. You don’t realise how easy we have it in developed countries; Rwanda has one of the best access rates to fresh water in Africa – that’s 56% of people being within 500 metres of running water!

PEZ: How do you go about framing a Pro Continental team budget.
PS: It’s a bit of an under taking but the cycling world is quite small and in our DS Vassili Davidenko we have a man who has been in the sport for 20 years and more – that gives him a lot of brains to pick.

But the first thing you need is the riders, to get into good races you need good riders – and it’s riding the good races that gets you the sponsorships.

Southerland talking about diabetes.

PEZ: You’ll be riding a Euro programme – what do you do about vehicles, for example ?
PS: There’s a great company in Bologna called Tresca Transformer – we work with Nilde, Enrico, and Lucathat – which takes care of all of our vehicle requirements.

Buses, cars, trucks – liveries, racks, insurance, maintenance, everything. You give them your requirements, sign a contract and if you have a puncture in Luxembourg, they’ll get it fixed for you. It was our new DS, Massimo Podenzana who put us on to them; he’s another man with contacts.

Rubens Bertogliati signed for TT1.

PEZ: You signed Rubens Bertogliati and Alexander Efimkin in the autumn and now you’ve signed Laszlo Bodrogi and Daniele Callegarin.
PS: We spoke to Laszlo’s agent, Alex Carera about a possible deal and negotiations didn’t take too long. Laszlo has a great palmares, but has been plagued by injuries in the last few seasons. He’ll continue to live in France and Callegarin will remain in La Spezia whilst our US guys will base themselves in Lucca – pretty much everywhere in Europe is within an hour’s flying time.

So did World TT Championship podium finisher, Laszlo Bodrogi.

PEZ: Podenzana is a very experienced man.
PS: He was team mates with Vassili at Navigare in ’93 and ’94. Massimo would go back down the bunch to find him; maybe Vassili would be feeling bad, tired and didn’t want to sprint but Massimo would get him back up there to contest the finale.

He wasn’t just a great team mate, he was a great motivator too. He’s worn the pink jersey as Giro leader; won stages in the Tour and Giro and twice been Italian Elite road champion. And he has a great network of contacts.

Massimo Podenzana.

PEZ: How’s the programme looking ?
PS: We hope to start in Europe at the GP of Marseille then the Etoile des Besseges; we have invites for the Tour of Trentino and Tour of Turkey.

We need to come out of the blocks good and get the first win out of the way; but May will be our biggest month with the Tour of California. It’s a new team, it takes time to establish the dynamic, build the team, understand each other.

Southerland training in Italy with Aldo Ilesic and friends.

PEZ: Team Type 1 goals for 2011 ?
PS: To establish ourselves as a well managed team in the European arena – only good organised teams can get wins. But like I said, May is our biggest month and if the invites come our big goal is to have good Tours of California and Italy.

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