Tuesday, 15 November 2011
The Renault auto group purchased a 30% interest in the company in 1974, and then fully annexed it into its Renault Factory Group in 1976. This purchase began the second (and, sadly, the last) “golden era” for Gitane racing – both on bicycles and in motorcycles – with Renault pouring resources into racing teams featuring Gitane
The Renault-Gitane team began dominating the European cycling scene with Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, the Madiot brothers, and would led to the discovery of the first big name in US cycling: Greg LeMond.
But despite the success of the Renault-Gitane team, economic realities in the bicycle industry and the end of the bike boom necessitated a retreat from the free-spending days of the 1970s. In 1985, amidst a recession in France, Renault reorganized and ditched Micmo-Gitane.
To cut costs and increase productivity, production facilities throughout in several other cities were relocated to a central factory in the Machecoul in 1986, and by 1987, all bicycle manufacturing was under one roof in the city.