The Giro d’Italia was born in 1909 from a demand to sell newspapers, as La Gazzetta dello Sport beat its more popular print rival Corriere della Sera in the race to launch a nationwide cycling event.
It was a huge success from its debut – and the Giro has since become one of the iconic Grand Tours. While the Tour de France has the Alps and the Pyrenees, the Giro has the Dolomites: the jagged peaks and plunging cliffs create a stark beauty which makes it the most beautiful Grand Tour to many cycling fans – including Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Swiss luxury watchmakers Tag Heuer.
“We love the innovative spirit of the organisation team behind the Giro d’Italia,” Biver tells us, as we travel to watch the 100th anniversary of the race.
Tag Heuer’s relationship with pro cycling dates back to 1946, when pocket chronometers for measuring time during races were first mentioned in the brochure of Heuer. By 1985 the brand sponsored its own cycling team.
“Timekeeping in cycling has become more and more important, if not crucial”View on Instagram
In this modern era, Tag Heuer is pitching its Connected Modular 45 as the ideal watch for the modern sportsperson. In Biver’s own words, “It has all the necessary features (materials, visibility, lightweight), performances (reliability, water resistance, accuracy,) and applications (speed, temperature, heart beat) needed in sport.”
In the Giro, the winner’s jersey was traditionally handed out using a rather simplified points system: one point awarded to the first to cross the line; two to the second, and so on, with the overall winner determined on aggregate over the three-week tour.
Historically, this was perhaps the only option when it came to ‘accurately’ measuring the timings between a bunch of cyclists strung out across huge distances. Legendary Italian rider Giovanni Rossignoli would undoubtedly have been the first to highlight the shortfalls of such a system, though, given he would have won the tour twice more had a stopwatch been used.
“Nothing can be achieved without continuity, concentration, coherence and constance”
“Timekeeping in cycling has become more and more important, if not crucial,” Biver asserts. “Today, victories after three weeks are made by a few seconds. That’s an instrumental and most important reason why timekeeping must be extremely accurate and reliable”.
Such was the case with this year’s Giro d’Italia, as we gazed on to the final stage with our hearts in our throats watching Tom Dumoulin regain the time he had lost. In a thrilling performance, which following three weeks, 21 stages, and 3,609km of racing, he took the Grand Tour victory.
“Nothing can be achieved without continuity, concentration, coherence and constance,” Biver states. This is not only true of his luxury watch brand, but also of the racing in the 100th anniversary of the Giro d’Italia, which was arguably the most exciting edition of the race to date.
To find out more: tagheuer.com