Assos of Switzerland will be clothing supplier to BMC Racing Team – whose bike sponsor from which it takes its name is from the same country – for the next three years, marking a return to the professional peloton after a quarter of a century.
The deal, announced today, will also see the Swiss firm supply the BMC Development Team for training and race wear, replacing Pearl Izumi.
The new kit retains the same red and black colour scheme, although there are also TAG Heuer patches on the upper arms following the announcement earlier this year that the LVMH-owned watch brand had signed up as a sponsor of the California-based team.
Sold last year to a consortium of investors, Roche Maier, whose father founded Assos, remains involved on the creative, branding and product side.
He said: “Although Assos retired from the UCI WorldTour peloton over two decades ago, competitive cycling is in our DNA and we've continued to nourish it.
“Now, 25 years later, we are reconnecting with our roots and officially heading back into the professional peloton by entering into partnership with BMC Racing Team.
Not because we needed to, but because our hearts wanted to. The entire R&D crew here at Assos is very excited about this."
BMC Racing Team general manager Jim Ochowicz said: “We are always looking to improve and innovate, particularly when it comes to technical apparel.
“Assos of Switzerland are specialists in engineering and aerodynamics, and have mastered the creation of racing apparel suitable for all weather conditions and elements. With their Swiss quality and technical achievements, they were a natural fit as our technical apparel partners.”
The clothing brand claims to have been the first to bring Lycra cycling shorts to the peloton back in the 1970s – Italy’s Castelli says it was first – and was the first to unveil a skinsuit for use in time trials.
While it’s been absent from the pro ranks for more than two decades, it does supply the Swiss national team, and Fabian Cancellara wore one of its skinsuits when taking Olympic gold in Rio this summer.
Its chairman and CEO, Phil Duff, said: “We recognise that by working with some of the top riders in the world at BMC Racing Team, we have a focused channel to create, experiment and develop new advancements unknown today.
“It pushes us to go further than just developing products for commercial use, and of course is an ideal tool to test new technology before it's made available in our collection.”
Assos, which has just opened a standalone store in London’s West End, says it will also produce replica kit as part of the deal, and that there will also be a non-team version of its SpeedFire skinsuit.
> Assos opens store in London's West End
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