Tour de France Interview Series: Andy Rihs, team Title Sponsor
A proliferous patron of cycling, title sponsor of the BMC Racing Team and founder of BMC Switzerland, Andy Rihs believes the BMC Racing Team has what it takes to win another Tour de France. We caught up with him the day that Rohan Dennis took the yellow jersey on the opening stage of this year's Tour, to find out why...
- Name: Andy Rihs
- Tour No: 6
- Years with the BMC Racing Team: 9
- Nationality: Swiss
What is your favorite professional cycling race?
My absolute favorite race to watch is the Tour de France. 70% of road cycling is all about the Tour, the winner is always and forever, the King. When it comes to the Olympics and World Championships - people forget, but no-one forgets the winner of the Tour de France
How often are you with the team during the year?
I’m with the team a lot for the early season races to see how they are shaping up for the upcoming season. I usually make it to the Tour Down Under, then Flanders, the Tour de Romandie, Tour de Suisse and sometimes, the Giro. I spend a lot of the summer in France and I’ll go to the Tour for about 10 days to take in the mountain stages in the Alps, and the closing stages of the Tour. So in total, I’m probably at races for about 30 days of the year.
What continues to keep you engaged in the professional cycling scene?
BMC Switzerland actually. Without BMC I probably wouldn’t be so involved in the racing side – I probably wouldn’t even have a team.
What are your expectations in terms of the team’s performance at this year’s TdF?
A win! If not this year, then sometime in the coming years. I’m already absolutely thrilled with Rohan Dennis' stage win. He set his mark really early being one of the first to contend the time-trial, and every big name that came after him to try to beat him - failed. He was so determined right from the beginning. Rohan is simply outstanding. He showed up at the TDU and won against Cadel and Porte – then he shows up at the UCI Hour Record and broke it, and now this. Rohan will stop at nothing to win – fast times aren’t enough, he wants to be the best.
Do you miss having Cadel Evans on the team?
Cadel cannot be copied. He is so unique – the way he races, how he sits on the bike, the incredible power to go when he wanted to go - he was an artist on the bike. Sure we miss Cadel, but I love the way the team is developing now in its own wayWe have big expectations for the General Classification with Tejay.
What is your greatest memory with the team?
When Cadel was in Grenoble in 2011, close to winning the TT, he took every risk. Following him in the car we thought he would crash. Although he was already winning, he put himself out there like no-one else – he even got air on his road bike at one point. We had to tell him to slow down – usually it’s the other way around. He was an artist on the bike. Our hearts were in our mouths and we were really happy when he arrived in one piece and of course, was the champion.
When and why did you start cycling?
One day my brother Jöggi (Joerg) showed up on a bike wearing ridiculous lycra clothing – trying to look like some cycling star. At the time, I made fun of him, but he was the one who introduced me to cycling and he brought the sport into the area where we lived (Lachen, Zürich) through Phonak. Then I actually got a loan of a bike from an American friend and I started cycling myself. When my friend was about to return to the States, I bought the bike from him. Then I started to ride regularly – its definitely ‘my’ sport. Every day after the Tour we grab our bikes and a group of us go for a ride. Some people go to church, we ride bikes.