Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Trek sues LeMond

At an employee meeting this morning, Trek president John Burke announced that Trek filed a lawsuit to sever the company's ongoing relationship with three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond. This suit comes on a heels of commentary from LeMond, in which LeMond recently disclosed that Trek pressured him to issue a public apology to Lance Armstrong at Armstrong's behest.

Trek began its business relationship with Greg LeMond in 1995. By 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, with the LeMond brand growing to a $15 million business.

In 2001, LeMond criticized Lance Armstrong for his association with Italian trainer and physician Michele Ferrari, who advocates for the use of performance enhancing drugs. "When I heard he was working with Michele Ferrari I was devastated," said LeMond of Armstrong's Tour de France wins in 2001. "In the light of Lance's relationship with Ferrari, I just don't want to comment on this year's Tour. This is not sour grapes. I'm disappointed in Lance, that's all it is."

A month later, LeMond issued a tearful public apology to Armstrong.In July 2004, however, LeMond again questioned Armstrong's achievements, saying, "If Armstrong's clean, it's the greatest comeback. And if he's not, then it's the greatest fraud." LeMond also said that Armstrong threatened to defame LeMond and that he was told to keep quiet to protect his business interests. Last September, LeMond said in an interview that his 2001 apology came after Trek came under pressure from Armstrong and threatened to end their relationship.

Last March, LeMond filed suit against Trek. In his 41 page complaint against Trek, LeMond claims that Trek tried to silence LeMond several times regarding his allegations of drug use by Armstrong. LeMond claims that Trek is failing to "exert best efforts regarding LeMond's brand" in violation of their license agreement and that Trek may be "winding down" it's promotion of LeMond bicycles to retaliate against LeMond's commentary about doping in cycling. While Trek claims that that LeMond's actions are hurting the Trek and LeMond brands, LeMond claims that he has seen no evidence of this. According to LeMond, Trek intentionally snubs LeMond by making no mention of his brand at dealer events and in promotional material.

Trek told retailers in a letter this morning that they will offer LeMond retailers a sales rebate promotion to help drive the sales of 2008 LeMond inventory.


  1. Dropping the LeMond brand is something that Trek should have done long ago. His unfounded and somewhat off the wall comments about Armstrong have been damaging the brand for a long time, so I am glad to hear that Trek is finally severing ties with him. They should have done so the first time around, but I guess they had a lot vested and wanted to make it work.

  2. ...good point, james...

    ...i posted elsewhere today that while i will always have great respect for greg lemond's celebrated accomplishments, the guy really knows how to water down his own champagne...

    ...unfortunate but true...

    ...the image is evolving...twenty years from now, ol' man lemond, standing in his front yard w/ his belt halfway up his chest, waving his cane & shouting "you kids get offa my lawn...& i coulda won seven easy, god dammit"...

  3. Who cares what any of these guys say? Either they have business interests and were clean, or they were doping to pursue their business interests (sponsorships).

    All I know is that I have an '06 Lemond Croix de Fer made of Platinum OX steel which rides like a hummer (note small 'h'), and Trek doesn't seem to be diplaying them in their 'Trek Store' in Toronto much. Instead they have a lot of marginally lighter alu bikes most people don't need as much as the comfort of steel.

    Don't think the Trek corporation would sabotage any sales out of spite, but I wonder if they have a lower profit margin on the Lemonds.

  4. welp, it almost seems like a countersuit, since lemond sued first. Once they're not getting along, things go downhill.
    I don't want everybody to have to have stellar social skills... but consistent vitriol gets wearying too.

  5. ...it IS a reaction to papers filed by lemond's lawyers & while lemond seems to disingenuously believe his constant personal attacks on others have no affect on his business, i think he's quite wrong...

    ...bicycles are very personal to most buyers & while i definitely support greg's obvious concern for the sport, i'm glad i no longer own a lemond (cross-bike) simply because i'm tired of his attacks on individuals in or once in the sport...

    ...'other james' may have a point regarding smaller profit margins but i think it has a lot to do (A) w/ business falling off directly because of greg himself & (B) he's biting the hand that feeds him & they're understandably tired of it because it affects their brand name...

    ...the smell of grapes souring spoils the taste of wine to come...

  6. Greg has always been outspoken and a little off the wall; he just seems to involve himself so deeply in anything he cares about that he distorts his own perspective. That said, Greg is an honorable champion who never took so much as a vitamin pill throughout his career, and nobody will ever know how his palmares would compare to Armstrong's if he hadn't had the hunting accident in the winter of 1986. Armstrong's statement that he "never tested positive" for dope and the off-the-record tales of his hardball tactics in business and sport turn me off. I'd rather see Greg get vindicated to some degree in this one. Seems like Trek is having to pick one or the other & has more invested in Lance, so they're throwing mud at Greg. Shame.

  7. Greg Lemond was the last Tour de France winner not to cheat. I believe Lance Armstrong told Burke to tell Lemond to shut his month. Now that Burke has passed away there is nobody at Trek to smooth things between Lemond and Armstrong. Trek bikes are overpriced to pay for Lance. If you want more bang for your buck, dont buy from Trek.

  8. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24098739


    LeMond using the legal path to settle matters is not news. Take a look at Greg's past business dealing and they all seem to include an unusual amount of legal input. As they say; "There is one common thread in all of your bad relationships - you!". I was a large fan of Greg's in the past, but Greg never seems to stick with one product very long. The lack of loyalty can not set well with the those seeking the LeMond brand.

  9. I ride both a Trek Madone 6.5 and a Lemond Tete de Course (ti/carbon mix). Both of them are magnificent bicycles. I find all this squabbling and lawsuit-filing very sad. In the timeless words of Rodney King, "can't we all just get along?"
    David, Brooklyn NY

  10. I like the LeMond bikes too and agree about the squabbling.

  11. My initial response was "there goes Lemond suing someone again". I will say that I think Greg Lemond is correct in all of his "doping in cycling" comments. My respect for him remains unchanged, although he does seem a bit paranoid at times.

    However, my sinking feeling of Armstrong having doped is increasing. Reading all of the legal documents posted on Trek's site does make me feel that Armstrong, being a big shareholder in Trek, is getting revenge for Greg's comments from many years ago. Now that the dust has settled and everyone that Armstrong beat in his Tour victories have been proven to have doped - in one way or another - it is hard to believe he beat them so easily.

    Greg Lemond remains a clean champion of the sport and Armstrong's recored will become tarnished; however, he will cost Lemond some money in the short run.

  12. Allez Allez LeMond!!!

    You don't need TREK! Go on your own. I don't think TREK is putting maximum effort in the LeMond product line. How would they? They want to promote their TREK line.

  13. I am kind of ignorant on this matter but it is not good to falsely accuse someone of doing something wrong. but I have nothing against either party and i hope this was just a misunderstanding.
    i do not mean to be a prude but i just wanted to make known that i do not appreciate it when someone misuses God's name such as making His last name d****. I noticed that in an earlier comment so I just wanted to make that known. I hope all is well for you guys. God bless.


  14. If you are in the racing circles of Seattle you find numerous people who rode with Armstrong early on (and even beat him) who say he took "enhancements" (some who even say they did it with him) and then started getting MUCH better. "No big deal Lots's of people do it". This was not even a secret in the community. Maybe LeMond had bad motivations for outing Armstrong but to suggest he is lying is ludicrous.