5/29/11- UPDATE- It was suggested
by a thoughtful reader that this page had been
accidentally left up too long because nobody could seriously think it a
good idea to have such things on the 'net after Greg's essentially been
proven correct (in the view of many) in his assertions that Lance is a
doper. I appreciate his opinion and I'm glad he brought it up. But, I'm
not going to hide from what I wrote or assume it has no value. At the same
time, I don't want this page to be seen as trashing Greg. Regarding the
lawsuit referenced below, it was settled with a nominal payment by Trek to
a charity of Greg's choosing, and the dissolving of any business
relationship between Greg and Trek. Greg is free to have anyone else build
bikes for him. Regarding Lance...
...Let's get to the truth. Let's figure out who's credible and who may not be. If Lance Armstrong is the biggest fraud in sports history, let the case be made so solidly that all the PR spin in the world can't dig him out. But let's not support shoddy journalism that's based on delivering a story that people want to read and gets sloppy with the details. You could be the biggest Lance fan, or the biggest Lance hater. You could believe that Greg LeMond was the last non-doping winner of the Tour de France. I'm fine with any of that. But emotionally bonding to one view or the other and refusing to look at each piece of information critically, choosing instead of believe something because it fits in with something else they already believe in. --Mike--
4/8/2008- TREK files lawsuit to sever ties with Greg LeMond and will stop manufacturing LeMond bikes-
Since 1995, Trek and LeMond had partnered to design and build high-quality road bikes, many built in the USA. The early years were fun & exciting, as the new line rapidly found its way and brought a different flavor to the world of Trek. But the relationship began to sour when Lance was going for his 3rd Tour de France win, and Greg was often quoted in the media as having doubts that Lance was racing clean, based almost entirely upon allegations, sometimes unfounded, always questionable, by author David Walsh. This became a major distraction; many customers felt that Greg was coming across with a whining attitude, upset that another American might eclipse his TdF record. That did not help sell bikes (Trek or LeMond). Finally, after many years of trying to get Greg to focus on promoting his bikes, advocacy for cycling and "clean" cycling in general (rather than what has appeared to be a personal vendetta against Lance Armstrong), John Burke, President of Trek, declared that enough is enough and filed a lawsuit to terminate the relationship.
Trek has shown all its cards publicly, including timelines and details of the various ways that Greg breached his contract and even a youtube video of Trek President John Burke addressing the issue at a company meeting (giving you an unusual, behind-the-scenes look at how a major bicycle company operates). Below is my response, on a newsgroup, to someone asking why Trek put so much out into the open, so fast-
Trek had/has a *lot* of
explaining to do. They have a whole lot of dealers with inventory of LeMond
bikes who want to know what's going on, and why. Doesn't it make sense for them
to put everything they can out in public, as quickly as possible? Beyond the
fact that dealers are *owed* an explanation (after all, we have a lot of
inventory $$$ on the line), it makes sense to
try and get back to business as quickly as possible and that, again, requires
that you answer as many questions as you possibly can, as fast as you can,
preferably before they're even asked. That's simply good business.
Nevertheless, Greg remains one of the GREAT cyclists of all time. That cannot be taken away from him, nor taken for granted.
Almost forgot to add that none of this has any effect on those who have purchased a LeMond bike made between 1995 and 2008. Trek Bicycles will continue to honor all warranties on these bikes, regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit.
Addendum 04/10/08- One thing apparent after re-reading the various paperwork in these lawsuits is that it's likely Greg felt that he could get Trek to capitulate to his terms without making anything public. As stated in Trek's 4/08/08 filing, page 6, document #1, "Greg LeMond's statements are quoted at length in a complaint that LeMond Cycling recently served upon Trek but has not, to date, filed." It's likely that Greg's attorneys felt that including so much about Lance Armstrong in the threatened legal action would serve as incentive for Trek to keep things quiet. That's probably the reason Trek came forward with everything, quickly removing any idea that they'd settle easily, and eliminating the idea they have something to hide. Good from a PR standpoint, and probably good legal strategy as well.
Addendum 04/11/08- I just came across an article from Outside Magazine, July 1994, titled "I'm Not the Next Greg LeMond. I'm the First Lance Armstrong." A very interesting read that might tell you a bit about the egos involved. You can read it here. Meanwhile, emotions run hot & heavy. This is the sort of thing that really gets you scratching your head. It would probably make more sense if I stayed quiet, as we're a business and I doubt that it's likely something I say on this matter will increase sales, but highly possible I could give pause to those who believe Greg is being unfairly persecuted.
Addendum 04/04/09- Hard to believe it's been almost a year since Trek discontinued their relationship with Greg LeMond. In the meantime Lance has come out of retirement to race again, and Trek has added Gary Fisher road bikes to fill the void left by LeMond's departure. I've heard nothing whatsoever of the lawsuits between Trek and LeMond in the meantime, which is probably for the best. Greg LeMond was and shall remain one of the greatest cyclists of all time, having won three Tour de France titles, as well as many other races. And he remains one of the great story tellers of what it's like to race at the highest levels. If he has a speaking engagement that you can attend, I'd highly recommend it, regardless of how you feel about Greg's issues with Lance Armstrong or anybody else.