While road cycling continues to gain popularity in recent years, it’s surprising that relatively few watch brands are affiliated with the sport. One of the field’s most original and exciting initiatives must be credited to Tudor, which has joined Swiss cycling legend Fabian Cancellara to create a new team. Competing for the UCI ProTeam class in the 2023 season, the Tudor Pro Cycling Team is ready to get ahead with serious ambition and humility. MONOCHROME was invited to spend three days in full immersion with the team during their last training camp in Spain to understand how things are getting into gear. And yes, there’s a watch involved too. A special Black Bay Chrono Dark that you, unfortunately, won’t be able to get… unless you join the Tudor Pro Cycling team.
Cycling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. Millions of fans watch races like the Tour de France. The competition is intense, with no respite for the riders, and everything can change at any moment. The breathtaking speed, the team tactics, and the new technical developments make pro cycling a wonderful sport… Last but not least, from a brand/business perspective, enthusiasts of this popular sport have serious purchasing power and are not shy about paying over EUR 10,000 for the best-in-class two-wheel technology.
Still, very few watch brands are involved in this discipline, particularly as team sponsors (and even less as title sponsors). Tissot has been associated with major cycling events, the UCI and athletes for years. TAG Heuer was the official timekeeper of BMC Racing, Richard Mille is the Watch Partner of UAE Team Emirates, and Breitling just announced their first-ever cycling partnership with the Q36.5 cycling team… Going pro, Tudor decided to embark on a brand-new project as the main/title sponsor of a team created with cycling legend Fabian Cancellara.
The idea was an initiative created from scratch, envisioning a team fully aligned with the brand’s core values. Securing a sponsor for a cycling team is hard, and budgets are high. If cycling sponsorship is somewhat fragile by nature, with teams desperate to find a main sponsor every other year, Tudor’s long-term commitment really makes things different. At the core of the vision is a human-centric approach to cycling, placing respect, commitment and happiness as top priorities. “Performance is the ultimate measure of success, but how you get to the finish line matters just as much as when you get there.” The Swissness of the team is also presented as essential and is associated with the idea of being honest, hardworking and humble. Similarly, the team’s equipment is based on the expertise of Swiss cycling companies: BMC for the bike, DT Swiss for the wheels and Assos of Switzerland for clothing.
Tudor Pro Cycling was granted a UCI ProTeam license in December 2022 and hopes to qualify for the world’s most prestigious races by the 2024 season. Spending a few days with them on a training camp in Spain was the opportunity to discover the roster of riders and the support team: the management, the sport direction, the mechanics, the medical staff, the soigneurs, the coaches… A crop of 15 new riders recently joined, and the staff was reinforced with top-level professionals in every department, with, for instance, Ricardo Scheidecker, former technical and development director of a world-class WorldTour team Deucenink Quick-Step. The resources allocated to performance optimisation and innovation in all areas are quite impressive. Last, there is also a development team racing at continental level to develop under-23 riders’ skills and capabilities to eventually become professionals.
This year’s programme is not fully disclosed yet, but the team is expected to participate in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Marseille La Marseillaise in late January… we will keep an eye on their performance!
Lastly, a team watch is part of the members’ equipment. This special edition is based on the Black Bay Chrono Dark, with additional red accents and a black/red NATO strap. As such, it is a 41mm PVD steel model powered by the COSC-certified calibre MT5813… Pretty cool, but it is not for sale and is only available for team members. So if you want to get your hands on one, you know what to do: train and become one of the best professional cyclists in the world!