Tour of the Tudor Service Course

Tour of the Tudor Service Course

Written by Joseph Bonacci, on June 26, 2024

Many of us watch road racing, seeing men and women give their all for the small chance at glory, but few realize how much goes into a team in terms of supplies and personnel. I recently had the opportunity to visit the Tudor Service Course in Sursee, Switzerland to see firsthand the infrastructure behind the Tudor Pro Team. The Swiss-based team aims to keep everything as Swiss as possible, including their headquarters and equipment, which can throw some logistical wrenches in the works, but allows them to keep national pride. 

BMC Teammachine R at Tudor Service Course


The BMC-equipped team needs to have bikes for each rider, every day, and multiple backups in case of mechanicals or failures. To do this, each of their 28 riders has eight bikes, five Teammachine Rs for road racing, and three Speedmachines for the time trial days. That is a total of 224 bikes that are being meticulously cared for, purpose-built for each race ensuring that equipment will never be an issue. Looking around the Service Course, there are bins and bins of chainrings, derailleurs, cockpits, cranksets, tires, bike computers, and anything else you might think of. On a quick survey, it looks like they use 10-12 different chainring combinations, from 56/43 to 50/37 (at the smallest), and a 1x chainring anywhere from 50-60t. It might be safe to assume that they rarely use the 50/37, because you need a different SRAM Front Derailleur than on the larger chainrings due to an issue with the derailleur height.

Tudor Service Course garage.

The next staggering figure is the amount of wheels they have. The DT Swiss sponsored team has 1400 wheels. While that seems like an enormous number, it seems somewhat realistic considering the many depths, tire widths and cassettes that are needed for each rider. Then add the spares. For any certain race, they’ll keep some of these universal across all riders, but tire width is always specific to the rider, as wind tunnel testing revealed that some riders are more aerodynamic with a 25c front tire while others are with a 28c. Talking with one of the team managers, he revealed that most riders are using 172.5mm crank arms. While they have seen the trend of going smaller, all of the Tudor riders are on a standard crank length. 

Tudor Service Course Wheels

During a Grand Tour, drivetrain components will be typically swapped out every week, including derailleurs. The only parts they leave are brake calipers and levers, replacing even the hoses, chainrings, and cranks. Tires get replaced daily, along with brake pads, rotors, and chains. In the service course, they even have a custom Rocket Cinquantotto Espresso Machine with their logo on the side. 


Seeing all the equipment and amount of labor that would go into a team you may be asking how they accomplish all that. They have a team of 12 mechanics working to ensure every bike is dialed. 14 soigneurs are ensuring everything is set up in each hotel, and transporting the gear during stage races. They have 6 coaches, 2 nutritionists, masseuses, and doctors all focused on making sure each athlete is at their peak each time they throw their leg over the bike. 

For transport, Tudor has a fleet of about 25 vehicles, including 6 team cars to be used during races and buses and semi-trucks for transporting bikes and equipment to and from the events. Transporting equipment in and out of Switzerland isn’t quite as straightforward as you may think, due to Swiss customs the team needs to have prepared a list of all items they are taking with them two weeks before traveling. If they are short a bike (or even something as small as a chain) they will be hit with a massive fine for not having the proper declaration. So, while Switzerland is geographically in a great spot for the racing calendar, the custom implications can make it a tedious process, being the reason why most teams are not based out of Switzerland. 

BMC building in Switzerland


Tudor runs this operation out of a small space in Sursee, Switzerland. They have a garage where they keep some frames, spare parts, and everything they use for community outreach - plus, a floor of the building for everything else. They have their space optimized for storage with custom bike racks allowing for 3-bike high storage along the walls. With space for two mechanics to work side-by-side, they have a parts cleaner and wash bay neatly packed into the space. Fabian Cancellara has outfitted everything needed to establish Tudor as a Pro Team. They did mention that they are in the process of either finding, or building a new facility for more space and for it to be optimized for the bike team, but that would still be a year or two out. 

Tudor Service Course Yellow Jersey and espresso machine


Along with us on the tour of the Service Course was former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.  Even he was amazed with the team's set-up, expressing that they are very well-resourced for a bike team. Tudor wants to make sure that the equipment and support will never be the reason for a rider's bad day. It was great to see everything that goes into a team of this level and what it took to get them to the starting line of the Giro d’Italia. While Tudor does not currently have a World Tour license, they are fighting to earn a Tour de France start in the 2025 season. As a relatively new team, this would be an impressive feat as they are competing against much more established teams. 


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