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 Burke.
"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 Racing Cycles name and trademark, to the Trek brand as a whole, and to the Trek reputation in the global bicycle market.
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.
Burke gave a presentation to employees today which highlighted the ongoing issues with the Trek/LeMond 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," said a statement from Trek.
“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."
LeMond has had high-profile run-ins with fellow American Tour de France winners Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis.