Swiss entrepreneur and sports team owner passed away in hospital in Zurich yesterday

Andy Rihs, owner of the bicycle brand BMC Switzerland, has died in Zurich at the age of 75 following a long illness.

The company said that Rihs passed away in the city’s Susenberg hospital yesterday evening, with his family present.

Rihs took over the business in 2000, and the following year it became bike supplier to Phonak, the professional cycling team sponsored by the hearing aid business co-founded by him in 1994.

BMC Switzerland CEO David Zurcher said: “We will create a special place for Andy inside the company. All employees, friends and business partners will have the chance to leave a personal note here for Andy.

“Obviously, Andy’s passion and vision will live on inside the entire brand. Andy and BMC Switzerland have always had goals – the BMC Switzerland team is more committed than ever to pursue these with great courage and dedication.”

He added: “With about 100 million CHF turnover and positive EBITDA, the company stands solid. Also, the BMC management has taken all necessary steps to secure the ongoing wellbeing of all BMC employees and the BMC brand. This was Andy’s heartfelt wish.”

In a statement, BMC Racing Team said that with Rihs’s death,  “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.”

The team added: “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.”

Besides cycling, Rihs was also a passionate supporter of football, owning the football club, Young Boys Bern, and he also owned Le Coquillade, a five—star hotel and spa resort in France’s Vaucluse department.

Among those paying tribute to Rihs on social media was former world champion and BMC Racing Team rider, Philippe Gilbert.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.