President of Trek says Armstrong will race 05 Tour

In an interview on VeloNews.com, Trek president John Burke said he asked Armstrong about the 2005 Tour de France on a web-conference viewed by Trek stockists. "I can't see him not riding the Tour," said Burke. The VeloNews interview also lays to rest any rumours there will be a Lemond-style range of 'Lance Armstrong' bikes from Trek.
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Describing Armstrong as a "big part of the Trek family", Burke said there are no plans to produce a Lance Armstrong line of road bikes.

The Texan signed a ten-year linking deal with Trek two years ago and Burke said Armstrong would be retained as a "spokesman."

Trek owns the Lemond marque, named after Tour de France winner Greg Lemond.

Burke told VeloNews: "We think Trek's a lot better off selling Trek and having Lance being the key spokesperson for Trek. He affects the brand in so many ways. He affects the brand obviously with the amount of exposure he gets, which is unbelievable, and one of the really interesting things with Lance is that he really cares about the product. There are other riders that are just like, 'Give me the bike and I'll go,' but he's really involved in product development."

Much of this development work takes place online. Trek sets up "special web screenings" for Armstrong.

"He's an internet kind of guy," said Burke.

"His time's valuable."

And his input leads to better, more profitable products.

Take Bontrager wheelsets. The MTB maestro puts his name to them, but it's Armstrong which makes them fly. On the road, and off the shelves.

"Our wheel business is just rockin' right now," said Burke.

"You can see [Armstrong's input] all over the place. And all through the product line."

And, of course, on the bottom line. Having Lance Armstrong on the payroll is good for business.


http://www.velonews.com/.../7161.0.html

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