Michel Thétaz: «We exceeded our objectives»

18 October 2013

IAM Cycling

An autumnal curtain fell on IAM Cycling’s first racing season this past Sunday afternoon in the city of Tours.  It has been a full year for the only Swiss professional cycling team, and one where the team went head to head against the toughest competition all over Europe and even the Middle East (Tour of Qatar and Oman).

It’s been a year where Michel Thétaz, the founder of IAM Cycling and CEO of IAM SA (www.iamfunds.ch), has succeeded in instilling his enthusiasm, rigor and expertise in the 23 riders chosen for the team, and gathered together a staff who was happy to share in the same passion.  From the GP de La Marseillaise, which kicked off their season on the 27th of January, until the Paris-Tours, which put a period to the season on the13th of October, Thétaz, who comes from Orsières and lives in Geneva, has enjoyed and relished in the exploits of his riders.

Already absorbed in the preparations for the coming year, which includes more tweaks to the current setup than anything else, Michel Thétaz reviews his team not only from a sporting point of view, but also with the eye of an investor.


What is your primary emotion now that you have reached the end of your first season, both from the view of the CEO of the IAM SA and from the view of the owner of a Pro Continental cycling team ?

 It is a feeling of excitement, looking forward to all that is possible for next season.  Our attitude and the results we’ve gained this season bode well for our future.  And there is also a feeling of great satisfaction particularly regarding the comments surrounding the team and the values it represents.

The team has netted twelve wins in between GP de La Marseillaise and Paris-Tours.  Are you pleased with that sort of output ?

I would be lying to say otherwise !  I could hardly have expected anything better.  Our objectives have largely been exceeded in this first year.  What proof do we have ?  The victories and podiums as well as other events where we finished well, animated the race and won other classification jerseys have all placed us very high in the team standings in our category, which is the Europe Tour, as defined by the International Cycling Union (UCI).


For you, personally, what are the highlights from the year ?

I would have to say that our immediate acceptance into the world of professional cycling and the resulting invitations to the grand classics of the spring season, such as Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège has to be the most satisfying aspect of this first year for me.  And then we finished with the “big league” every time.

 Conversely, what is your worst memory ?

Martin Elmiger crashing at Paris-Nice and Marcel Wyss crashing at the Tour of Switzerland remain embedded in my memory.  I suffered nearly as much as they did since I was sitting in the team car and witnessed their falls, though remaining helpless to do anything to help.

Are you still frustrated to have not received the hoped for invitations from the RCS or the ASO to the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France ?

Not at all. For two minutes after we found out that we were not invited, I felt the pain.  But then I realized it is all for the good.  Our motivation is redoubled to be there next time.  


As the CEO of IAM SA, do you feel you have received good value for money on your investment during this first year of the team ?

It is not just good, but it is excellent.  Our image, our reputation and credibility rose sharply.  That is what we needed to see and it is essential for our future development.

What would you like to see improved in the cycling structure for the 2014 season ?

The devil is in the details !  Our structure is sound.  This will ensure that we can do a good job going forward.  However, we will have to concentrate more on how to make our mission more effective.  This is the only thing we can do to strive for better results.