Bernard Hinault has joined with a group of businessmen who are trying to save the Mavic brand after the wheel and equipment manufacturer was put into receivership last month.
The five-time Tour de France winner is part of a bid led by lawyer Didier Poulmaire which also includes former Crédit Mutuel-Arkéa CEO Ronan Le Moal.
Poulmaire helped American businessman Frank McCourt to purchase Olympique de Marseille in 2016, while Le Moal was the driving force behind Arkéa’s cycling sponsorship.
According to L’Équipe (opens in new tab), 14 bids have already been filed with the commercial court in Grenoble ahead of a June 19 deadline.
Based near Annecy, Mavic was founded in 1889 and employs over 250 people. It has been the neutral service provider at the Tour de France since 1977, the year before Hinault won the race on his debut.
"I’m very happy to come and support a French project to save Mavic, a brand that accompanied me throughout my career and which is inseparable from bike racing," Hinault told L’Équipe.
"As a technical partner, Mavic has always been at the service of riders in difficulty on the roads. Now it's my turn to put myself at the service of the men and women of Mavic when their company is in difficulty. It's a fair exchange."
Mavic was ostensibly sold by the French Salomon Group to Californian private equity firm Regent LP last July, but Mavic staff representatives revealed last month that the brand had in fact been bought by Delaware-based company M Sports.
"Even worse, since its sale by Salomon, Mavic has been incomprehensibly abandoned and has never really been taken over, neither by Regent LP, nor by M Sports," read the statement.
Hinault, who stepped down from his role as ASO ambassador after the 2016 Tour, will play an active role at Mavic should the consortium’s bid prove successful. According to L’Équipe, the 65-year-old’s duties would include a part in the development and promotion of Mavic’s e-cycling range.
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