Editorial

What It’s Like Shadowing the Tudor Pro Cycling Team at the 2024 Giro d’Italia

We finally understand why people call it the toughest race in the world’s most beautiful place.

Editorial

What It’s Like Shadowing the Tudor Pro Cycling Team at the 2024 Giro d’Italia

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It is known that Tudor and the sporting world are seldom apart for long, and cycling has been a hot topic for the Swiss manufacture lately, especially since it co-founded the Tudor Pro Cycling Team in 2022 with the help of Swiss cycling hero Fabian Cancellara. Then in 2023, Tudor became the official timekeeper of the Giro d’Italia.

 

Along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, the Giro d’Italia is one of only three world professional cycling grand tours, which sees participants competing in teams of eight cycling all across the country in a stage race format. But there is one key difference between the Giro and the other grand tours. Granted, the Tour de France is more prestigious and a lot more prominent, well known even among non-riders. But the Giro is unanimously regarded among riders, especially pro riders, as the “better race” because it is harder, steeper and generally tougher to compete in.

 

First, Italy’s mountainous topography offers little in the way of flat terrain. The stages are notoriously hilly with some seriously steep climbs and a number of uphill finishes as well, making it that much more technically challenging. The country’s unique boot-shaped geography also carves the Giro as a more unpredictable race, with stages that occasionally require riders to make two laps of the same route, meaning, anything can happen during these stretches when opportunities open up for attacks.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia riders

Mountainous terrain makes the Giro a seriously challenging race

 

Second, the Giro d’Italia kicks off grand tour season each year, taking place around the month of May, occasionally stretching into June, riding through weather conditions that may be described as erratic at best and chaotic at worst. Temperatures can be volatile, ranging from cold on one day to hot the next. The sun, wind, rain and even hail could be pelting down on the riders, who sometimes face ice and snow especially when they are tackling the majestic Dolomites.

 

These gruelling conditions, coupled with the stunning Italian landscape and the warmth of thousands of Giro fans lining the route, are some of the reasons why the Giro d’Italia is known and regarded as the toughest race in the world’s most beautiful place.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia riders 1

Riders face a plethora of weather conditions, from wind and rain to ice and snow

 

The Tudor Dream Team

Drawn to this intense mix of passion, prowess and precision at the Giro d’Italia, Tudor stepped up to support the event in 2023 as its official timekeeper, playing a key role throughout the race and especially during the time trials. The sport of professional cycling has been on top of the Swiss watch manufacture’s mind, as just one year prior, Tudor had made its first big step into this exhilarating universe, founding the Tudor Pro Cycling Team with the help of double Olympic Champion and Swiss national hero Fabian Cancellara.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia manufacture ride

The Tudor Pro Cycling Team began in 2022

 

Based in Sursee, Switzerland, the Tudor Pro Cycling Team comprises two sub-divisions, a UCI Pro Team and a U23 Team for a total of 41 riders across 11 nationalities, 15 of whom are Swiss. Guided by team owner Cancellara, CEO Raphael Meyer, Head of Sports Ricardo Scheidecker, Head of Innovation Kurt Bergin-Taylor and others, the Tudor Pro Cycling Team runs exactly the way you would expect a Swiss company would: like a well-oiled machine.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Cancellara 1

Swiss cycling hero and owner of Tudor Pro Cycling Team, Fabian Cancellara

 

Additionally, there is a team of four coaches, seven sport directors, 12 mechanics, 11 soigneurs and osteopaths plus one head of medical and four doctors, two chefs and two nutritionists, along with a dedicated team of administrators, marketing, logistics, finance and PR. Everyone has a specific role to play and every role has a specific purpose to the team. Riders ride, managers manage, coaches coach.

 

In its uniquely human-centered approach, there is a palpable sense of focus and discipline, knowledge and respect shown to and received by all members of the team, who work hard and give their all to push for the best results. They take great care of the riders, and the riders, in turn, are deeply appreciative of their support, which makes the Tudor Pro Cycling Team truly exemplary of its motto, “Swiss, Human, Performance.”

 

 

Gruelling conditions, coupled with the stunning Italian landscape and the warmth of thousands of Giro fans lining the route, are some of the reasons why the Giro d’Italia is known and regarded as the toughest race in the world’s most beautiful place.

 

Challenge Accepted

Growing from strength to strength, the Tudor Pro Cycling Team made its grand tour debut at the 2024 Giro d’Italia, after consistent appearances with great results on the UCI circuit such as the Volta ao Algarve, Tour of Flanders, Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice where rider Arvid de Kleijn took the podium in Stage 2, and Tour de Romandie where Maikel Ziljaard claimed his first professional victory in the prologue.

 

Now, covering 3,400 km and climbing a total of 44,650 km above sea level over 24 days, the Giro d’Italia was the team’s biggest challenge yet. Fielding a line-up that includes riders Matteo Trentin, Alberto Dainese, Robin Froidevaux, Alexander Kamp, Alexander Krieger, Marius Mayrhofer, Michael Storer and Florian Stork, the Tudor Pro Cycling Team humbly accepted the honor of being among the Wild Cards this year and their overall performance had been nothing short of impressive.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia trio team mood

The 2024 Giro d'Italia is Tudor Pro Cycling Team's first grand tour race

 

Italian rider Alberto Dainese sprinted to fourth position at Stage 18 which finished in his hometown of Padova. Australian Michael Storer claimed sixth place in Stage 2 and ninth place in Stage 8, both of which are mountain-top finishes. As the race came to a close on Stage 21 in the Italian capital of Rome, the Tudor Pro Cycling Team walked away from their first grand tour with a Top 10 ranking in the General Classification, a total of 10 Top-10 stage finishes, and what was probably the experience of a lifetime for the entire team.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Alberto Dainese

Alberto Dainese

Tudor Giro d'Italia Michael Storer

Michael Storer

 

Pink With Intention

Braving the hot Piedmontese sun, thousands of Giro fans stationed themselves along the race route of Stage 1, which started in the outskirts of Venaria Reale and ended in the heart of Turin. It’s a hilly 140 kilometer journey with altitude gain of 1,850 meters across three ascents, Berzano di San Pietro, Superga and Colle della Maddalena.

 

Towards the end of the stage is a city circuit where riders had to loop around twice before crossing the finish line. But whether in and around the city or up on the hills, all of Turin was awash in pink, though not just any shade of pink but a dazzling, flamboyant pink designed to catch the eye, and that has been a symbol of the Giro d’Italia since the early 1930s. No wonder the Giro is so often affectionally referred to by its other name, Corsa Rosa.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia live giro trophy

The Giro d'Italia trophy, inspired by Italian cinecittà

 

Decked out in all manner of Giro merchandise, these fervent supporters out in full force collectively express the true spirit of the race. Cheering on every cyclist they see with all their heart. Hiking up the hill to find the best viewing spot. And that tends to be near the most brutal inclines so that they can really go close to the riders, patting them on the back and giving them a little push shouting “Vai, vai, vai!” or “Forza!” while delivering the occasional bite of cheese or salami slice straight into their mouths. Even when the riders are completely taken by surprise, these supporters would simply insist more. Truly it doesn’t get more Italian than this.

 

But of course at the sight of the vaunted first Maglia Rosa, everyone loses it. The Maglia Rosa, or pink jersey, is awarded to the fastest rider of each stage. There are other colors symbolizing different wins, such as the blue Maglia Azzura which goes to the best climber, the purple Maglia Ciclamino for the best sprinter, and the white Maglia Bianca highlighting best young rider, but pink is the one every rider is really striving for as it also represents who the leader of the general classification is.

 

Only two riders in Giro history has ever worn the Maglia Rosa from the first to the last stage: Eddy Merckx in 1973 and Gianni Bugno in 1990. Pink is the official color of the Giro, has been since 1931, beginning as a quick and easy way for spectators to spot the race leader. But, why pink? Because it references the pink pages of the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport which founded the Giro d’Italia in 1909.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Maglia Rosa

Maglia Rosa (pink jersey) is worn by the fastest riders

 

Incidentally, pink is also a color that has recently come to define many of Tudor’s brand partnerships. Other than cycling and the Giro, Tudor is also present in the world of football, being the official timekeeper of Inter Miami CF whose team jersey is also a bright, cotton candy pink. At every Inter Miami match, all of Chase Stadium is swathed in pink, and team co-owner David Beckham is never one to flinch from wearing pink.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Inter Miami

Inter Miami CF

 

Fittingly, Tudor marked this momentous occasion by introducing the limited production Black Bay Chrono “Pink” which is a radical departure from its usual milieu, making it all the more special as a collectors piece. Furthermore, the idea for this design originated from another Tudor ambassador, Jay Chou, who loves pink so much it has become his signature. And just like that, Tudor has taken a color that is typically associated with femininity and turned it into a symbol of strength, bold sportsmanship, and a daring to break with convention, to go against the status quo.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Black Bay Pink

Tudor Black Bay Chrono "Pink"

 

The Cycle Continues

Just before the 2024 Giro d’Italia flagged off, Tudor released a special edition timepiece dedicated to the world of cycling. The Pelagos FXD Chronograph “Cycling Edition” is perfectly calibrated to this sport and showcases how well Tudor has assimilated to this environment. Not just official timekeeper in name, the manufacture actively observes the needs of a cyclist and the world of cycling which is defined by strength, speed, endurance and above all, lightness.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Pelagos 1

This is the lightest chronograph Tudor has ever made

 

As a result, the Pelagos FXD Chronograph “Cycling Edition” is Tudor’s lightest chronograph ever, with a case made of carbon composite, crown and pushers in titanium. Carbon is a reference to the biking world while titanium is one of the strongest most high-tech materials in watchmaking that is also ultralight. This was how Tudor ensured that the Pelagos FXD Chronograph “Cycling Edition” is both lightweight and robust.

 

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Pelagos 3

An all-black case, with red accents on the dial and white markers and hands echo the Tudor Pro Cycling Team livery

 

Carbon composite isn’t entirely new to the Pelagos FXD line, as Tudor had formerly released the Pelagos FXD “Alinghi Red Bull Racing Edition” in this material. But in that watch, the case is matched with stainless steel crown and pushers instead, which made sense for a sailing watch constantly exposed to saltwater. Other differences include a titanium rotating bezel for the Alinghi edition as opposed to a tachymeter scale on the Pelagos FXD Chronograph “Cycling Edition” and indeed this is no ordinary tachymeter scale.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Pelagos 5

Carbon composite case in 43mm with titanium pushers and crown

 

Exclusively for this timepiece, Tudor has reevaluated the standard tachymeter scale which was originally devised for motor racing, which is obviously much faster than bike racing. Here, the scale is presented in a way that’s suited for the speeds that cyclists can possibly sustain, tapping out at 240 instead of 500 units per hour. The chronograph scale also encircles the entire dial in a spiral, thus allowing average speed to be read at a glance.

 

Worn on a black fabric strap, the Pelagos FXD Chronograph “Cycling Edition” is thus specially engineered for riders of the Tudor Pro Cycling Team. Its red-black-white color palette also offers a close enough hint. The manufacture caliber MT5813 within is a COSC certified chronometer featuring a silicon hairspring and 70-hour power reserve.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Pelagos 4

A spiral tachymeter scale adapted to cycling speeds

 

Apart from high precision timekeeping, the watch also offers high precision time reading via luminescent ceramic composite monobloc applied hour markers on a matte black dial. It has an imposing presence at 43mm in diameter but the lightness downplays all of that heft in an instant, making it as comfortable to wear as it is easy to read.

 

Checking all the right boxes in contemporary watch design, the Pelagos FXD Chronograph “Cycling Edition” is what one might call a “ride or die.” It’s that go-anywhere do-anything watch that you trust will make it through the highs and lows, something you can always count on, even if you’re barrelling towards the biggest challenge you never thought you’d face. And when all is done and dusted, that’s what Tudor’s Born to Dare slogan is all about.

 

Tudor Giro d'Italia Pelagos 2

Crafted exclusively for cycling, the Tudor Pelagos FXD Chronograph "Cycling Edition" is truly Born to Dare