BMC Racing owner Andy Rihs dies aged 75

Swiss businessman had been ill for some time

Andy Rihs, the owner of BMC Racing Team and head of bicycle manufacturer BMC died on Wednesday at the age of 75 from leukemia.

The BMC Racing Team announced the death in a statement on Thursday morning. 

"It is with great sadness that BMC Racing Team announces the death of owner Andy Rihs. Andy Rihs died after a patient and valiantly endured illness at the age of 75 on Wednesday, 18 April in the Susenberg clinic in Zurich, Switzerland in the presence of his family," read the statement.

"Andy was not only an owner and main sponsor of BMC Racing Team, but also a friend who enjoyed life and loved sharing that joy. With him, an exemplary visionary, an avid sports fan, a passionate cyclist, and a great supporter of sport has left us. His generosity, his sense of humor, and his infectious laugh have shaped the man that has been by our side since the beginning of BMC Racing Team. Our grief is indescribable, but we will carry on his values.

"Not least thanks to the great commitment from Andy, BMC Racing Team has been able to develop so well in both a sporting and economical sense. Andy has served as an inspiration to us all. BMC Racing Team extends its sincere condolences to Andy’s family and friends at this time. We will keep Andy in everlasting memory and forever be grateful for his friendship and support."

Rihs was born in 1942 and started his career in the family business, Phonak. He got his start in professional cycling when Phonak began sponsoring a team in 2000. Rihs also took over BMC in 2000 and started producing high-quality bikes in Switzerland, which were raced on by the Phonak team. 

The Phonak sponsorship ended in the autumn of 2006 after Floyd Landis was stripped of his Tour de France title for doping, and the Phonak company was rebranded as Sonova the following year.

Shortly after ending his association with the Phonak team, Rihs founded the BMC Racing Team in 2007, which he co-owned with former American pro Jim Ochowicz. Their crowning glory was Cadel Evans' victory in the 2011 Tour de France, while they also won back-to-back team time trial titles at the World Championships in 2014 and 2015. 

Rihs was the chief benefactor of the team and concerns over funding have accompanied the team in the last few years, with Ochowicz currently searching for sponsorship to keep the team afloat in 2019. 

Cyclingnews would like to extend its sincere condolences to Rihs' family, friends, and everyone at BMC Racing.

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