SERVICE COURSE MAVIC
SERVICE COURSE MAVIC
Mavic Service Course: serving cyclists for nearly 50 years
In the minds of many cycling fans, Mavic is synonymous with the yellow car, a vehicle that is a little piece of cycling history in its own right! The iconic Service Course is an integral part of the experience for thousands of riders and millions of spectators alike.
Over the years and through the eras, Mavic has built an identity that is rooted in serving the cycling community and its fans, and we could not be prouder and more attached to this image. More than an stand-alone department in our company, the Service Course reflects the core values of our brand and carries a legacy that, today, is still lived and breathed by every single one of our employees.
THE HISTORY OF THE SERVICE COURSE
The yellow car, a symbol for many generations of cyclists
For over half a century now, Mavic neutral support vehicles have been on duty at cycling events across the world. The legend began at the 1972 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, when one of the teams’ sports directors suffered a vehicle breakdown. Bruno Gormand, Mavic CEO at the time, stepped in and offered to lend him his car to follow the race. The idea of offering neutral and free assistance to all riders was born.
Less than a year later, at Paris-Nice 1973, the first yellow car made its appearance at the front of the peloton, assisting breakaways and providing communication for the various actors of the race. Since then, the miles spent at the service of the riders have ceased to be counted, with Mavic offering assistance wherever cyclists required it: from private races to the biggest stages of all: the MTB World Cup, the IronMan World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and, of course, the Tour de France. At the latter, the yellow car has in fact recorded 43 years of service. A record!
From the road to the trails and any other discipline of the cycling world, it is this longevity that makes the brand so prevalent in the mind of every cycling lover out there.
The key for success
The reason why the yellow car is so memorable to cycling enthusiasts is because the efforts of the Service Course have greatly impacted the outcome of many races. Amongst others exploits, two events have forever their mark on cycling history:
- 15 avril 2007 : Part of the initial breakaway at Paris-Roubaix, Australian Stuart O’Grady suffers a puncture on the legendary Trouée d'Arenberg. Quickly assisted by the Mavic neutral car, he gets back onto the the group before launching an attack at few kilometres down the road and claiming victory on the velodrome, quite possibly the biggest win of his career…
- 9 juillet 2017 : On the 9th stage of the Tour de France between Nantua and Chambéry, Rigoberto Uran is held up by a derailleur issue. Maxime Ruphy, hanging out the window of the neutral assistance car, manages to repair the blocked derailleur as Uran is riding, and the Colombian goes on to claim a photo-finish win. This feat earned Maxime star status in South America, recalls Jacques Corteggiani (another long-standing Service Course mechanic).
These epic moments have left their mark not only on the cycling community, but are fondly remembered at Mavic as well. They are not the only ones however.
Service Course staff also recall touching moments shared with amateurs riders, such as the child at the Roc d’Azur festival who brought their bike for repair before racing the next day. A year later, the same child returned with a drawing of the “Men in Yellow”; a detail for some, but a priceless thank you in our eyes. The drawing hangs, to this day, on the wall alongside the autographs of the biggest champions.
ACTIVE ON ALL FRONTS
On every roads
As mentioned before, the expertise of our Service Course is not restricted to the long summer stages of the Grande Boucle. Mavic has provided, and continues to provide, assistance for many other events across many cycling disciplines. Here is a small, non-exhaustive overview of the races we were, are and will be present...
Professionnal road races
Le Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, la Flèche Wallonne or Paris-Tours. Stage races like Paris-Nice or Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games…
Mass road cycling events
La Haute Route, la Marmotte, l'Ardéchoise, la Louison Bobet, l'Étape du tour, Paris-Roubaix Challenge, Ötztal Marathon (Austria), Sella Ronda (Italia) or Quebrantahuesos (Spain), among others..
IronMan Kona Hawaïï, IronMan Nice, triathlon d'Embrun.
On every terrains
Mass events like type Roc d’Azur, Roc Laissagais, Roc des Alpes, Roc des Monts d’Ardennes (2022), Paris-Gao-Dakar en 1987, France Cup Enduro Series, Bivouac enduro, World Cups like Houffalize and bike festivals like Vélo Vert Festival
La Résistance, Gravel 66, Cyclassic, Gravel Wishone (Morvan & Millau), Nature Is Bike festival
e-Enduro des Portes du Mercantour
The wide diversity of these events stems from our desire to serve ALL cyclists, no matter their discipline, level, ambition or background.
The skills we have developed and evolved over the years alongside the greatest riders, are the same required to assist the amateurs. Denis Greffet, a long-standing member of the team, explains that "it is the mixture of feedback from professionals and amateur riders that helps us understand what adjustments need to be made to our products”.
A BRAND PHILOSOPHY
Equal commitment at every level
Working at the Service Course requires passion. Passion for cycling of course, but also a passion for the work itself, which often means getting up at dawn to help others live their passion to the fullest, in the very best conditions.
This passion is a quality that all team members share, as Denis Greffet explains: “At the Service Course, the atmosphere must remain warm and friendly, it has to stay a team of cycling lovers. Here, we will forever be passionate about what we do!” A statement that says a lot of a man whose work ethic and personality are unanimously appreciated by all who have had the good fortune to cross his path.
This deep-rooted dedication to the task can be felt in the attitude of everyone at Mavic. It is a value we cherish and nurture. With the aim of sharing our passion and building a genuine rapport with our customers, all our employees are encouraged to spend time at events and be a part of the neutral service team. Whether they work in marketing, accounting or human resources, they are welcome to come and service the participants’ bikes (after receiving appropriate training, of course). This not only gives our people better knowledge of the products and their use, but also brings them in direct contact with the end users. "It gives the consumer an extra link with the brand," explains Jacques Corteggiani.
"By meeting the people who use our products, we get to know who they are, why they use Mavic products (or not) and what their expectations are!"
Finding a solution to every problem
The main goal of the Service Course is to help a rider finish a race, no matter what issue they may encounter.
Often, getting to the start line is the result of many sacrifices and long hours of training. For every athlete who puts on a race number, crossing the finish line is the ultimate achievement, and one we will always try to find a solution to honour. A motto that is echoed in the words of a customer, and shared by our customer service team a few months ago. "Whatever issue a consumer has, Mavic will always come up with a solution."
The reality of race day means that suffering a mechanical will very likely change the experience and result, but one thing is for sure: we will give it our all!
YEARS OF EXPERTISE SERVING PRESENT
STILL IN THE RACE
Service Course : yesterday, today and tomorrow
We are proud of the history of our Service Course, yet this legacy would mean nothing if it were no longer relevant.
Today (and without a doubt tomorrow), Mavic teams are driven by a shared purpose: to do their very best to ensure every cyclist can fully embrace their passion!
We were there when the greatest cyclists of the latest generations needed assistance.
We are there when dedicated amateurs need a mechanic to resolve a bike issue before a race.
And when you, too, need a helping hand roadside to reach the finish line…
We are Mavic, we are the men in yellow, and we will be there!