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Life on the road with TUDOR pro cyclists Arvid de Kleijn, Sebastian Kolze Changizi and Maikel Zijlaard

Jasmine Alimin
Jasmine Alimin • 11 min read
Life on the road with  TUDOR pro cyclists Arvid de Kleijn, Sebastian Kolze Changizi and Maikel Zijlaard
De Kleijn (left): It’s exciting to witness a renowned watch company like TUDOR venturing into the world of cycling
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In the pulsating heart of Swiss watchmaking, TUDOR stands as a brand that goes beyond traditional timekeeping, finding resonance in the high-stakes world of sports. The marriage of precision and endurance inherent in its timepieces aligns seamlessly with the demands of athletic pursuits, cementing the brand’s identity beyond mere wristwear.

TUDOR’s connection with sports is no accident — it is a purposeful thread woven into the brand’s DNA. The precision and resilience seen in its watches align seamlessly with the demands of sports, where every split-second matters. But its story in sports is not just a spectator’s view; it is a narrative written on the demanding terrains of competition, where the brand’s endurance matches that of the athletes it supports.

The latest chapter in TUDOR’s sporting affiliations was the launch of its very own professional cycling team in 2022 — a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries. This strategic foray represents more than a sponsorship; it embodies the watchmaker’s ethos, where precision, durability and a relentless pursuit of perfection converge on the challenging roads of competitive cycling.

Under the stewardship of Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara, winner of multiple Olympic and World Championships, the watchmaker brings its founding daring spirit to the professional cycling world, charting a course that will impact many aspects of this exciting global sport.

A competitive cyclist from the Canton of Bern, Switzerland, Cancellara has two Olympic medals, four World Titles, seven Monument Classic wins, and more. He has long been a leader in the world of youth cycling and is an advocate for cycling enthusiasts and the next generation of cycling pioneers through programmes like the Granfondo “Chasing Cancellara” series and “Kids on Wheels”.

When announcing the team, he told the media that Switzerland deserves its own cycling team. With its inspiring slogan #BornToDare, TUDOR emerges as a fitting partner that will lend the newly formed team its name. Under his guidance, the TUDOR Pro Cycling Team will develop a roster of skilled cyclists who embody these ideals, shared values and team spirit, going well beyond the current field of known competitors.

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World domination

It has been a rigorous past two years for the team, who make up a melting pot of over 10 nationalities. In 2022, for their inaugural year, they embarked on numerous U23 races in the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Continental rank, with 18 victories and placed on the podium 30 times.  TUDOR Pro Cycling’s Robin Froidevaux was crowned the Swiss champion in elite road racing. Further, Nils Brun snagged the title of U23 Swiss champion, and Fabian Weiss earned the U23 Time Trial Swiss championship title.

This year, the cycling stars progressed to UCI ProTeam events — the highest level in professional cycling — and bagged 11 wins. Dutchman Arvid de Kleijn clinched the first pro win at the 104th Milano Torino race at 48.194 km/h, setting the highest average speed in the history of the classic Italian race.

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Results matter, of course, but it is the day-to-day commitment from riders to push themselves mentally and physically and concentrate on how they cross the finish line as much as when. Their goal is to compete in the greatest cycling races of 2024, including the Tour de France. These additions should help contribute to big results on every terrain, a logical next step for the team in its quest for World Tour status in 2026.

 

Hello, Asia

In the Asian leg of the UCI ProSeries this year, the team took to the asphalt of Peninsular Malaysia in September, racing over eight days across 11 states with a total distance of 1,280 km in Le Tour de Langkawi. Although no one scored in the top 10 rankings, de Kleijn clinched the coveted Sprint Leader (KBS Orange Jersey) award.

After that event, de Kleijn stopped in Singapore with fellow teammates Maikel Zijlaard from the Netherlands and Sebastian Kolze Changizi from Denmark, who took some press members on an early morning ride out around Marina Bay and East Coast Park.

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Dressed in their sleek black jerseys adorned with red TUDOR shields on front and back, the boys set off on their flashy Teammachine R carbon bikes from Swiss brand BMC. They each wore a TUDOR Black Bay Chronograph on their wrists, made for the most daring of lifestyles and designed for rigorous activities.

“Through this event, participants had an intimate experience with the team and had a glimpse of how professional cyclists conduct themselves during a race. Despite their varying skill levels, they managed to focus on the ride and even challenged themselves beyond their imaginable limit. This was a true #BornToDare moment, and I am truly proud of every one of them,” says de Kleijn.

Here, the trio of 20-somethings tells us what it is like to be part of the TUDOR Pro Cycling Team.

Why do you love cycling so much?

De Kleijn: There are several factors that drive me. My primary motivation is the desire to win, as it pushes me to reach my limits. I also find immense satisfaction in working with a team to achieve a common goal and challenging myself. Additionally, I’m drawn to the beautiful lifestyle that cycling offers.

Zijlaard: Cycling holds a special place in my heart because it provides an unparalleled sense of freedom and immense joy. There is nothing quite like it for me. It’s not just a beloved sport, but also a gateway to travel the world and live out my dreams.

Kolze Changizi: I love the freedom that cycling offers. I can explore any place at any time. Having a job that grants me this level of freedom, with nature as my office, is truly exceptional.

If you weren’t a professional cyclist, what would you be doing?

De Kleijn: I would likely have pursued a career as a sports teacher, just like my father.

Zijlaard: I’m uncertain about an alternative career path. I’ve always aspired to be a professional cyclist, and I’ve devoted my focus and efforts to that pursuit.

Kolze Changizi: As a child, I dreamt of being a zookeeper, but my aspirations shifted when I became passionate about cycling. More recently, I’ve considered a career in real estate. So, it could be either a zookeeper or a real estate professional.

How fast can you cycle?

De Kleijn: As a sprinter in mass sprints, our speeds typically range between 65 and 77 km/h, although it can vary based on different factors and conditions.

Zijlaard: While descending a downhill trail, I’ve definitely reached speeds of over 100 km/h on the bike. However, during a lead-out, our speeds typically hover around 70 km/h. No, I have never raced against a car.

Kolze Changizi: I have reached speeds of up to 98 km/h, but I’ve never competed against a car.

What is training for a race like?

De Kleijn: I aim to approach my training with the race in mind, striving to execute everything correctly and effectively.

Zijlaard: While pursuing a specific goal, the closer you get to it, the more challenging it tends to be. Striving to excel in your field demands dedication and it’s rarely an easy path.

Kolze Changizi: The training process for a race involves several distinct phases. Initially, we engage in long and strenuous training rides, lasting up to around six hours per day. Following this intensive training period, we shift to a phase of lighter training and recovery, allowing our bodies to fully recuperate in preparation for the race. The day before the race, we typically engage in a shorter training session of approximately 1.5 hours, including some intensity work such as five-minute progressive efforts and short sprints to activate our muscles.

Can you share your ride experiences in Malaysia and Singapore?

De Kleijn: Riding in Malaysia was nice. The roads were good and we did a great job in Le Tour de Langkawi. I definitely would like to go back and do the race again. I had a great time in Singapore. The extensive bike lanes and the number of people cycling for leisure surprised me. It was an excellent event, and I’m looking forward to participating in it again.

Zijlaard: It was an incredible experience riding through Malaysia, but being able to ride in Singapore in the middle of the streets at dawn was something unforgettable.

Kolze Changizi: The most significant change was riding on the left side of the road, which was a challenge for the first few days of training in Kuala Terengganu. However, I adapted to it quite quickly. It was a unique experience to witness the distinct culture and environment in comparison to Europe. Moreover, the spectators who came to watch the race were very welcoming. The atmosphere, especially during the climb to Genting Highlands, was fantastic, even though I got dropped and finished more than 20 minutes behind the leaders.

What does being a TUDOR Pro Cyclist mean to you?

De Kleijn: It’s exciting to witness a renowned watch company like TUDOR venturing into the world of cycling. What’s particularly striking is that TUDOR’s daring philosophy has already become an integral part of the entire team’s ethos. We truly embrace the #BornToDare spirit.

Zijlaard: Without TUDOR’s support, a team like this in its current form wouldn’t exist. I’m incredibly grateful for their partnership, and I hope for many more years of collaboration. On the bike, the primary expectation is to deliver results for the team and for myself. Beyond that, we occasionally have the privilege of participating in events with the fantastic TUDOR team. These events provide us with a glimpse behind the scenes of the company and offer us outstanding treatment and care.

Kolze Changizi: Trust plays a significant role in our partnership – trust from me to the team, from the team to me, and from TUDOR to the team. This mutual trust is a positive aspect, as it comes with a sense of responsibility, contributing to our collective growth and improvement.

What’s your favourite TUDOR watch and why?

De Kleijn: My favourite TUDOR watch is the Black Bay Chrono with the black dial. It looks similar to our team watch, but I like this one just a little more.

Zijlaard: Since visiting Watches & Wonders earlier this year, I have fallen in love with the Black Bay.

Kolze Changizi: While the TUDOR Black Bay 54 is undoubtedly popular, if I were to select another watch, I’d go for the TUDOR Royal 41, specifically the ref. M28603.

How is 2024 looking?

De Kleijn: We are growing as a team, so probably I will do some more or bigger races next year. I enjoyed Watches & Wonders, so it would be great to participate in that event again.

Zijlaard: I currently have some time off, and once we resume, we will carefully plan and analyse how to achieve our goals. While the goals are well-defined, we will reveal them when the time is right and everything is in place.

Kolze Changizi: Since the 2023 season just ended a couple of days ago, I haven’t had the time to think about 2024, but I’m looking forward to another year with a TUDOR watch on my wrist, and I’m sure there will be exciting experiences and races to come.

Sporting icon

To mark 50 years of its chronographs, TUDOR relaunched its Black Bay Chrono model with a reworked case and two dial options in the purest tradition of the sports chronograph.

Measuring 41mm in diameter, the sporty timepiece is a blend of robustness and elegance with a stainless steel case that is beautifully satin-brushed and polished. The fixed bezel features a tachymetric scale with a black anodised aluminium insert.

The domed dial is offered in matt black or opaline, with contrasting sub-counters for a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary design. The signature “Snowflake” hands, illuminated by grade-A Swiss Super-LumiNova, provide a timeless touch to the watch’s aesthetic while ensuring optimal visibility.

Powered by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute-certified Manufacture Chronograph Calibre MT5813, the watch boasts a silicon balance spring, a 70-hour power reserve, and a vertical clutch for impeccable timekeeping.

Personalisation takes centre stage with three bracelet designs: A black Jacquard fabric, a cuff in black aged leather, or a riveted steel bracelet. This versatility allows each wearer to make a personal statement through their timepiece, adding an extra layer of sophistication.

The TUDOR Black Bay Chronograph triumphs in horological design, seamlessly blending heritage elements with modern functionality. With meticulous craftsmanship, iconic features and a commitment to precision, this timepiece is a testament to TUDOR ‘s legacy of creating exceptional watches that capture the essence of time.

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