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23 May 2019

News from Europe

1,500 bikers face up to 2nd highest mountain in the Alps to raise awareness of diabetes

ParticipantsWithPreDiabetes TeamStelvioFrom cycling enthusiasts to complete amateurs, 1,500 people climbed the Stelvio Pass –the second highest mountain of the Alps in Italy-  last 14 June for the second edition of the Passo Dello Stelvio event, a bike-ride aiming at raising awareness of diabetes, and of the importance of having a healthy and active lifestyle.

Each participant had two goals in mind: climb 2578 meters over 21.5 kilometers, but most importantly, raise awareness of diabetes and pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes, a precursor of type 2 diabetes, occurs when an individual starts having blood sugar levels slightly above the normal range. It often goes unnoticed, and may already trigger health complications. The good news is that pre-diabetes can be managed with regular physical activity and a healthy diet. This can in turn reduce the risks of developing type 2 diabetes.

A project to keep people moving

As the number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe, Diabetes Liga (the Flemish Diabetes Association), ABD (the French-speaking Belgian Diabetes Association) and Golazo, a sports events organizer from Belgium, joined forces to promote exercise as a powerful tool to reduce the risks and manage pre- and type 2 diabetes.

Stelvio 1This year the project focused on the prevention of type 2 diabetes. A group of 10 riders –complete bike amateurs- were selected to be part of Team Stelvio. They were trained for a period of 6 months to be able to take on the challenge. 7 of the riders had pre-diabetes, 2 more riders lived with type 2 diabetes and the last one had type 1 diabetes. Each one of them could count on the support of team of dedicated trainers and medical staff, but also on the support of the other riders, the diabetes community and their loved ones. For this second edition again, former Belgian professional cyclist Lucien Van Impe supported the project, being a proud and enthusiastic ambassador for Passo Dello Stelvio.

On 14 June, Team Stelvio and all the other participants were ready to face up to the mountain. This year again, the event proved to be a big success, with 1,500 people taking part in the bike ride. Diabetes Liga and ABD were also able to reach out to a wide audience thanks to a successful campaign both in social media and in the press.

But perhaps the happiest bikers were the 10 members of Team Stelvio, who all made it to the top and proved that pre-diabetes, or diabetes, does not stop them. Most importantly, what they learned and what they shared does not stop after the climb either – the members of Team Stelvio have now learned how to have a healthy and active lifestyle for the long run.

You can watch Team Stelvio’s inspiring ascent here.
For more information about Passo Dello Stelvio, visit the event’s website or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.