By Graham Healy
If you’ve ever spectated at a race in Belgium, the chances are that you’ve heard the Rodania tune. The Swiss watch company are one of the race sponsors and a car precedes various races including the Tour of Flanders blasting out their jingle.
Rodania was founded by the Baumgartner family in 1930, and soon began to grow and in order to support the growth the company opened sales offices in New York, Montreal, Caracas, Madrid and Brussels.
From 1951, the Brussels branch was placed under the supervision of Mr. Manfred Aebi, a young Swiss immigrant who was suffering from polio, and it was Aebi who decided to start sponsoring bike races.
1954 was the first time that a car with a large Rodania watch on top travelled ahead of the Tour of Flanders. The firm also started sponsoring riders with Eddy Merckx amongst those who promoted the brand.
Aebi was also the person responsible for coming up with the jingle. According to the Swiss man, he took his inspiration from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
For fans, the sound of the jingle helps to build excitement about the approaching race. However, roadside spectators only have to listen to it a handful of times. According to an article on Het is Koers, they have estimated that the driver of the car will hear the jingle about 5,400 times during the course of the Tour of Flanders.