In its first-ever cycling team sponsorship, the Swiss watchmaker with a long history of race timekeeping will support the pro squad on their mission of “Racing the Future” and rise to the World Tour.
Beginning in the 1950s, Breitling served as the official timekeeper of the biggest races on the cycling calendar, including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. A personal passion of third-generation founder Willy Breitling, the speed-driven sport went hand in hand with the company’s high-precision chronographs.
Today, Breitling continues that long-standing affiliation with the announcement of its first cycling team sponsorship, Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team. Breitling will bolster the Pro Tour team, newly founded by the Italian cycling apparel brand Q36.5, on its mission to reach the World Tour by 2026.
“Cycling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. It’s also a big part of our history and we needed the right partner with a strong vision to carry this heritage into the future,” says Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling. “Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team, with its ambitions to perform at a world-class level while making a positive social and environmental impact, proved to be the model team to put our support behind.”
The newly recruited 24-rider squad, representing 13 nationalities, starts their pre-season training camp tomorrow to prepare for its inaugural race, the Saudi Tour from January 30th to February 3rd. First-year priorities of the Swiss registered pro cycling team will be to race with a purpose, develop the young riders, and make a mark on the Pro Tour.
The team is led by experienced General Manager Douglas Ryder and advised by the legendary Vincenzo Nibali, one of only seven cyclists to have won all three of the Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España).
Connecting the World with Bikes
Breitling supports Qhubeka, a South-African-based organization that supplies bicycles to remote communities, giving them life-changing access to education, medical services, and jobs. Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team GM Douglas Ryder has, equally, supported the organization for many years.
“With progress at the heart of who we are, one of our goals is to leverage our international team and global racing calendar to raise awareness to the benefits of social mobility, through education and physical mobility in Africa. Another goal is to reduce our carbon footprint, minimizing the use of plastics and showcasing the benefits of cycling as a means of building healthier and more sustainable communities. This all ties into our mission statement of ‘Racing the Future’ to make the world a better place for all,” says Ryder.
Among the Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team riders, who are stepping up to the Pro Tour level for the first time, are Negasi Haylu Abreha from Ethiopia, Walter Calzoni and Nicolò Parsini from Italy, Corey Davis from the USA, and Switzerland’s Filipo Colombo, who will also race mountain bike. The multicultural team will also count on the expertise of veterans Gianlucca Brambilla, Jack Bauer, Damien Howson, and Tobias Ludvigsson among its roster. All three have spent 10 seasons on the World Tour and bring vast experience.
A Rich Cycling Heritage
Throughout the mid-20th century, Breitling kept time at the world’s most important cycling events, including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Milano San Remo, and Flèche Wallonne. The brand’s ambassadors were the two biggest cycling names on the planet: Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi. Furthermore, the Giro d’Italia watches that Breitling used to release annually were, and remain, sought-after collectors’ items.
Since 2018, Breitling has maintained its cycling links through its participation in the Old Mutual Wealth Double Century. The grueling 202-kilometer South African road race raises funds for Qhubeka and supports social mobility as a whole.
In the same time, the brand’s club page on Strava, the largest sports community in the world, has grown to 47,000 active members, who follow Breitling’s cycling challenges virtually, including the annual Double Century. “We know our customers are as enthusiastic about cycling as we are because we have a community of tens of thousands already riding with us from around the world,” says Georges Kern.
With the signing of the Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team, Breitling is once again planting its stake in the world of professional cycling, a sport that now, more than ever, supports Breitling’s vision of casual, inclusive, and sustainable luxury.