Trek to Immediately Sever Relationship with Greg LeMond
Posted on velonews.com April 08, 2008
Waterloo, WI — At an employee meeting held today, John Burke, President of Trek Bicycle Corporation, announced that Trek has filed suit in Federal Court in Madison, WI, to sever the company’s ongoing relationship with three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.
“Beginning in 1995 we had high hopes for the LeMond partnership,” said John Burke, president of Trek Bicycle Corporation. “And I am sorry it has come to this after so much hard work on the LeMond brand. But this troubling pattern of inconsistent business dealings forced us to do this, for the sake of the Trek family — our retailers, employees and customers.”
Since 1995, Trek has licensed the LeMond brand name and has produced road bicycles under the LeMond Racing Cycles name.
The move by Trek has come on the heels of LeMond serving Trek with a 41-page suit on March 20, 2008, to be filed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. LeMond’s suit was characterized by Burke as containing false and irresponsible allegations which “forced us to immediately end our relationship with Greg.”
The action filed by Trek Bicycle Corporation against Greg LeMond asks the court for declaratory judgment against LeMond and asks that the relationship be terminated due to multiple breaches of the contract. The breach of contract claims are based on LeMond’s ongoing pattern of public statements and actions which Trek believes have continued to be detrimental to the Trek-licensed LeMond reputation in the global bicycle market.
At the employee meeting, Burke presented a timeline of the Trek business relationship with LeMond and the development of the LeMond brand.
Trek Bicycle Corporation began its business relationship with LeMond in 1995 and, since then, has produced the LeMond Racing Cycles brand of road bikes. In 1999, the LeMond line was one of the fastest growing road bike brands and one of the top five largest road bike brands in the United States.
The presentation highlighted the ongoing issues with the relationship, its impact on the LeMond and Trek brands and the reasons for the decision to sever the relationship. Despite a series of innovative designs and continued support from Trek, due to LeMond’s actions and the public response, the LeMond brand has consistently failed to live up to its potential in the marketplace.
“For years, Trek has tried our best to make this relationship work. And for years, Greg LeMond has done and said things that have damaged the LeMond brand and the Trek brand as a whole,” said Burke. “His actions are inconsistent with our values — values we believe in and live everyday. And after years of trying to make it work, we are done. It’s time to sever this relationship and allow Trek to do what it does best — build the world’s greatest bicycles and provide our customers with a great product and exceptional customer service.
Why should Greg be penalized for speaking out against the boneheads in the sport? So what if a three-time Tour champion voices his disappointment at the state things are in. Unlike many others, who let it slide, he has probably begun to feel tainted (unfairly) by being associated with the sport of bike racing.
When you have a champion like Greg LeMond, who wants to see bike racing done honestly and an honest man cannot have a voice, the sport will continue its descent into ridicule and un-marketability. If I were Trek I would back him as the example of the family values that they seem to advocate. Not shun him for using a champion’s voice that we all should be listening to.
Cycling has been very good to Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong, but their lives after competitive cycling have been different. I see Greg promote cycling, while Lance promotes Lance.
I do believe Lemond deeply loves cycling. If Trek sees their future in Armstrong, maybe they should have talked to his former teammates or Sheryl Crow.