FABIO CALABRIA and Justin Morris are yet to become Australian road cycling stars. But as soon-to-be teammates, they could etch their own chapter in cycling - no matter their results.
Calabria and Morris are contracted with the US-based Team Type 1 professional cycling team whose aim - besides trying to win races - is to promote awareness of Type 1 diabetes.
The team convened in Sydney this week to fine-tune their preparations for Australia's second-biggest tour - the 550-kilometre, five-stage Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Victoria from Wednesday to Sunday. Calabria will be among the starters on Wednesday, but Morris will not join the team until next year and will race in the Crocodile Trophy mountain bike tour.
However, both Australians plan to make the best of their careers as cyclists who not only share the dream of one day riding in the Tour de France, but also of becoming advocates for diabetes. Like others on the Team Type 1 roster, both were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as children.
Both have proven that pursuing sporting dreams is still possible despite diabetes. Calabria, 24, had been cycling for 18 months when he was first diagnosed at age 13. The Canberra rider, who is based in Golden, Colorado, has claimed top 10 finishes in the Tour of Arkansas and San Dimas stage races and raced this year's US Pro Cycling Challenge against the likes of Tour de France champion Cadel Evans and the Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank.
''Our goal [on the team] is to show that you can control and manage diabetes in the his day and age, that you can still be a good bike rider, student or even businessman, and that you can still achieve things,'' Calabria said before a team-training ride north of Sydney that Morris led.
Morris, like all sufferers of diabetes on Team Type 1, races with a continuous glucose monitor to avert an overbalance of insulin that can cause hypoglycaemia and a seizure, coma or death. He also always carries a prepared insulin shot in his pocket. This is allowed under the Union Cycliste Internationale's anti-doping laws as a ''therapeutic use exemption''.
Morris, 25, from Sydney, was diagnosed with diabetes at age 10. He rode with Team Type 1 in 2009 before taking a year out to continue his university studies in psychology and education.
''We want to show that [as a diabetic] there are no barriers. If you want to be a pro bike rider, climb Everest, be an awesome plumber or academic … you still can be,'' Morris said.