by Aaron S. Lee
If new Novo Nordisk pro team signee Reid McClure has any nerves stepping up from the development team to a full-on UCI professional continental schedule, which could include a WorldTour race or two in 2017, the 21-year-old Calgary native is not showing any signs of nervousness.
In fact, McClure is rather calm and collected.
The former national level Alpine skier has endured a lot during the last half decade, including a catastrophic ski accident, which left McClure wheelchair-bound for two months with massive injuries, including shattered bones in both legs.
The sports psychology major at Quest University in Squamish, B.C., first turned to two wheels during rehab following the incident that could have cost him his life at just 15 years of age.
“I basically broke every bone in both my lower legs,” McClure told Canadian Cycling Magazine during the team’s training camp in Stone Mountain, Georgia, last weekend. “During recovery I started riding a mountain bike, and actually got into downhill for a season before switching to cross country racing, and for that you tend to get on the road a bit more for training. From there I started road racing.”
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3, McClure, who was racing on the road as a Cat 5 just two years after picking up the bike, attended one of two international talent ID camps held by Team Novo Nordisk, the only professional sports team comprised of all-diabetic athletes. McClure was selected for the development squad, where he has spent the past two seasons.
“I see Reid as a good all-around rider, possibly a great one-day rider,” said his former development team sports director Dan Holt, a former rider at Novo Nordisk during its initial days as Team Type 1, which featured a mixed group of diabetic and non-diabetic riders.
“His greatest qualities are his drive, consistency and most importantly his ability to suffer,” he continued. “Reid will be a valuable addition to the pro team next year, adding depth to the squad.
“A few more years of hard work, racing and experience, and he should be able to make it to the next level of professional cycling.”
Lofty comments regarding McClure, who has limited UCI-level race experience with the Tour of Ukraine (2.2) and An Post Rás (2.2) being two of his most notable completions over the past 24 months.
“I feel like from where I sit right now, the possibilities are basically endless,” said McClure. “Obviously, where the team is now, we are doing races like Milan-San Remo, and competing against the world’s best cyclists.”
As far as his daily battle with diabetes, McClure claims it is a non-issue.
“I think the great thing about the team is that it allows me to do what I love to do, which is to race my bike and as a by-product of that, I also get an opportunity to empower, inspire and educate the public about diabetes along the way.
“I was diagnosed at a very young age, so I don’t know what living without diabetes is like, so for me it’s business as usual, and my business is all about racing.”
However, the team’s expectations for the neo-pro in his rookie pro season, which kicks off at the Mallorca Challenge in January, will be tempered according to Novo Nordisk general manager Vassili Davidenko.
“Reid is very young now, but he is very excited and really wants to go and attack and be in the breakaway and that’s what I see in him,” Davidenko told Canadian Cycling Magazine. “But again, he is a very young rider and we want to bring him along slowly and put him in situations that will build his confidence. Down the road, those qualities will surface and we will see what type of rider he will become.”
Aaron S. Lee is a pro cycling and triathlon journalist at Eurosport and contributor to Canadian Cycling Magazine.