Shimano will be taking over the neutral support role at the Tour de France and other marquee races this year, replacing long-time partner Mavic that began race support with its distinctive yellow vehicles in the 1970s.
Shimano’s deal with ASO, owner of the Tour de France includes all of ASO’s season of men’s and women’s races including Paris Roubaix and many others.
Mavic was struggling in 2020 before new owners, the French investment group Bourrelier, stepped in to save the historic brand. The new partnership comes as Shimano will celebrate its centenary this year.
The new partnership will end the Tour’s long association with Mavic for neutral support. The French company helped to pioneer the concept of neutral support at major pro bike races. For decades, riders had to repair their own punctures and deal with other mechanical problems. Eventually, the idea of neutral support was fully embraced, and by the 1970s, Mavic’s support vehicles soon became part of the caravan.
The new partnership begins at Paris-Nice in March 2021.
A longer version of this article was first published in VeloNews (USA)