- Shimano is replacing Mavic as the provider of neutral support for riders at the Tour de France. Mavic had held that role since 1977.
- The Japanese bike parts company will also provide neutral support at all of the other WorldTour, Continental, and women’s races organized by ASO.
This year’s Tour de France peloton will feature a little less of its quintessential yellow and a whole lot more blue.
The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced on January 19 that Shimano will be taking over on neutral support—support for any rider on the course, no matter the team—for the Tour’s peloton in 2021, a position long held by French bike parts company Mavic.
Shimano, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, has roughly 20 years of experience in lending neutral assistance to pro cyclists, including in the other Grand Tours, such as the Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta a España. Neutral assistance is crucial to riders during races, who may find themselves stranded with a mechanical and no team car around to help.
[Want to fly up hills? Climb! gives you the workouts and mental strategies to conquer your nearest peak.]
“Shimano’s role is to inspire people to participate in sports and to keep bicycles running at their best. The vital neutral support role, especially at cycling’s most high-pressurized race—and also at the world’s most-watched sporting event—will allow us to do just that,” stated Shimano’s executive vice president Taizo Shimano.
But it isn’t only the Tour de France where you’ll soon be able to spot more of the bright blue assistance vehicles; Shimano will also now oversee neutral support at all WorldTour, Continental, and women’s pro cycling races that are managed by the ASO.
Neutral support vehicles were first introduced to the pro cycling scene in 1972. Mavic’s then-chairman Bruno Gormand lent his vehicle to a team manager, whose car had broken down, at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. Mavic officially rolled out the idea the following year at Paris-Nice; it was then brought on at the Tour in 1977.
The 2021 Tour de France is scheduled to take place from June 26 to July 18.
Baby Nutty MIPS