On the eve of the UCI Road World Championship 2016, at a press conference held at the St Regis Hotel, TAG Heuer CEO Jean‑Claude Biver announced the brand’s return to the world of international professional cycling. Closing a hiatus of more than 20 years, TAG Heuer is joining forces with BMC Racing Team represented at the press conference by owner Andy Rihs and Jim Ochowicz, the team’s President and General Manager.
Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and President of the Watch Division of the LVMH Group states: “Cycling is a universal, international, popular sport that transcends all age groups. This is an exciting project that is very dear to my heart and one we see as a long-term investment with my good friend Andy Rihs whom I’ve known for twenty-five years. The team will be the standard bearer for our avant-garde spirit and Swiss Made quality throughout the world. It will also give us magnificent brand visibility with its roster of prestigious races.”
Andy Rihs, BMC Racing Team owner, adds: “It is fantastic to welcome a luxury partner to BMC Racing Team’s portfolio and to have two high-level Swiss brands in BMC and Tag Heuer join forces through international cycling is absolutely unique. We are all excited to work with Tag Heuer, and I am particularly thrilled to announce this collaboration with my longtime friend, Jean-Claude Biver. BMC and Tag Heuer are both passionately Swiss and committed to excellence, so I am very much looking forward to the 2017 season and seeing our riders proudly display the Tag Heuer logo.”
Jim Ochowicz, BMC Racing Team President and General Manager, said: “This collaboration between BMC Racing Team and Tag Heuer is an important stage in the team’s history and one that signals great things for our future. BMC Racing Team and Tag Heuer share many values which can most aptly be summarized by Tag Heuer’s don’t crack under pressure mindset, the very essence of cycling. Timing is at the heart of racing, whether it’s a race against the clock at a time trial or a three-week Grand Tour, the goal is to be the fastest, so to have Tag Heuer join BMC Racing Team as our Official Timekeeper is an excellent fit.”
A global partnership
All team members will be sporting the TAG Heuer Connected, which will provide them with information and communications.
In terms of brand visibility, the watchmaker’s logo will be placed in all strategic locations. In races, on the jerseys, the watchmaker’s famous shield will appear high up and on the sides of the sleeves (a key location for TV and photography). On podiums, during interviews, this same logo will feature on all the cyclists’ caps. Finally, the team’s official vehicles will proudly sport the TAG Heuer and BMC colors side by side on roads all over the world.
As a tribute to TAG Heuer’s cycling heritage, road racing legend Dag Otto Lauritzen (age 50, Norwegian pro cyclist from 1984 to 1994, stage winner of the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, bronze medalist at the 1984 Olympics, and member of 7-Eleven Cycling Team which in those days wore the TAG Heuer colors) came to the press conference as well.
Also in attendance to mark the occasion: 2015 Australian time trial champion Richie Porte, leader of BMC Racing Team in 2016 (winner of Paris-Nice in 2013 and 2015 as well as Volta a Catalunya in 2015) and the 7 selected riders for the UCI World Championship Team Time Trial, Tom Bohli (SUI), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Taylor Phinney (USA), and Joey Rosskopf (USA).
The 2016 BMC Racing Team brings together 29 athletes of 12 different nationalities. Ranking among the top four UCI WorldTour teams in professional cycling, it is followed by 20 million fans around the world. It is also one of the most well-known pro teams (ranked in the top 3 in the US, UK, Australia and Germany). On social media, the team has more than 800,000 followers.
The spirit of the BMC Racing Team-TAG Heuer collaboration is about bringing together highly motivated, engaged and ambitious people to seek out innovations in all domains, and not just in the world of sports. It’s also about taking to the next level the avant garde technologies, materials and design that will be developed with the same spirit that drives the watchmaker from La Chaux-de-Fonds: “Swiss avant-garde since 1860.”
TAG Heuer and cycling: back in the saddle after a hiatus of more than 20 years
The first pairing of professional cycling with the brand dates back to 1946, when pocket chronometers for measuring time during races and trials are first mentioned in the brochure of Swiss watchmaker HEUER. In 1985, more than 30 years ago, TAG Heuer ventured in earnest into the world of professional cycling as sponsor of the HEUER SKIL SEM team and its leader Sean Kelly. From 1986-1987 to 1990, the brand’s involvement continues with Team KAS TAG HEUER and the American 7-Eleven Cycling Team, founded by none other than Jim Ochowicz – the current President and General Manager of BMC Racing Team whom TAG Heuer is partnering with again today.
Dag Otto Lauritzen, also in attendance today, and Andy Hampsten, are without a doubt heroes of that era when the first special edition of the Heuer Formula 1, sporting the red and green team colors, saw the light of day.
In 1992 TAG Heuer teams up with Swiss champion Tony Rominger (115 wins and hour record holder in 1994) who would also be the brand’s ambassador until 1996.