LeMond Racing Cycles

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LeMond Racing Cycles was a bicycle manufacturer originally founded by Greg LeMond, an American winner of the Tour de France. LeMond offered a geometry based on the racing frames he used in competition, which had a longer top tube and wheelbase in an otherwise traditional lightweight steel frame. This was to stretch out the rider on the bicycle, with the intent of both lowering the frontal area presented to the wind, and optimizing power and stability.[1] From 1995 until February 2010 Trek licensed LeMond's name for use on a line of its bicycles, believing that the cachet of the name, a diversifying brand portfolio, plus having models offering a longer top tube than Trek's frame geometries helped to expand the bicycle-sales opportunities for the Trek corporation. In September 2013, LeMond partnered with Time Sports to produce a limited run of 300 frames to commemorate his three Tour victories in 1986, 1989, and 1990. In August 2014, Greg LeMond launched the Washoe, a Reynolds 853 steel bike manufactured in the United States.

Greg LeMond[edit]

LeMond on carbon fiber in the 1991 Tour.

Greg LeMond was a pioneer in the use of carbon fiber bicycle frames in European professional road cycling, and his Tour de France win in 1986 ahead of Bernard Hinault was the first for carbon.[2] Ironically, given the rivalry that existed at the time between the American and his French teammate, LeMond rode a "Bernard Hinault" Signature Model Look prototype that year. LeMond also won the 1989 Tour and World's, and his final Tour de France in 1990 on carbon fiber frames, which had begun to feature "Greg LeMond" branding.

Company Founding[edit]

In 1990, LeMond founded LeMond Bicycles to develop machines for himself that would also be marketed and sold to the public. The following year, searching for an equipment edge for Team Z at the 1991 Tour de France, LeMond concluded an exclusive licensing agreement between his company and Carbonframes, Inc., to access the latter's advanced composites technology.[3] While LeMond briefly led the 1991 Tour while riding his Carbonframes-produced "Greg LeMond" bicycle, the company faltered, something LeMond blamed on "undercapitalization" and poor management by his father,[4] although Carbonframes and LeMond Cycles "parted amiably two years later."[5] In 1995, LeMond reached a licensing-agreement with Trek, according to which the Wisconsin-based company would manufacture and distribute bicycles designed with LeMond that would be sold under the "LeMond Bicycles" brand.[6] LeMond would later claim that going into business with Trek "destroyed" his relationship with his father.[4]

In 2001 the Trek deal proved painful for LeMond as he was forced by John Burke, the head of Trek, to apologize for the negative comments about Michele Ferrari, doping, and Lance Armstrong, who was by then a very important marketing force for Trek. LeMond's contract with Trek had a clause prohibiting LeMond from doing anything that would damage Trek. Burke reminded LeMond of this commitment, and strongly argued that LeMond publicly retract his statements. LeMond read a formal apology to Armstrong.[7]

In March 2008 LeMond Cycling Inc filed a complaint against Trek for breach of contract, claiming that they had not made a "best efforts" attempt to sell his bicycles, as well as describing the attempts to 'silence' him about doping, including incidents in 2001 and 2004. His complaint included statistics detailing slow sales in some markets, including the fact that between September 2001 and June 2007, Trek only sold $10,393 worth of LeMond bikes in France, a country in which Lemond remains both famous and popular.[8][9]

In April 2008 Trek countersued and stopped building bikes under the LeMond brand.[10][11] In connection with that announcement Trek also gave a short timeline of the Trek-Greg LeMond association.[12] These lawsuits were settled in February 2010. Although the details of the settlement were confidential, it involved a $200,000 donation by Trek to 1in6.org, a charity with which LeMond is affiliated.[13]

Conflicts with Armstrong and Trek[edit]

According to the USADA 2012 doping report, based on affidavits by Frankie and Betsy Andreu, in 2001 Lance Armstrong reacted to LeMond's negative comments about doctor Michele Ferrari and Armstrong by saying he would "take him down" and that he could call Trek's owner and "shut him up".[14][15]

According to a 2012 Outside story by Armstrong assistant Mike Anderson, Armstrong said he would “put LeMond out of business” over comments about him and Ferrari.[16]

In March 2008, LeMond Cycling Inc prepared a lawsuit against Trek, accusing them of bowing to pressure from "third parties" to "wind down" his brand through lack of distribution and promotion, especially in the European market. The complaint also says that "Since 2001, Trek has systematically sought to silence Mr. LeMond's right to make comments that constitute an informed and honest opinion on matters of legitimate public interest - the problems associated with the use of performance enhancing substances".[9][11] For example,

  • In 2001, shortly after LeMond made negative comments about doping doctor Michele Ferrari and Lance Armstrong, the complaint alleges that "Trek contacted Mr. LeMond to notify him that Mr. LeMond's comments in the article upset Mr. Armstrong".[9]
  • The complaint states that in 2001 John Burke of Trek contacted LeMond and "wanted Mr LeMond to issue a statement that had been drafted for him" regarding the Armstrong/Ferrari comments, and that if a suitable press release was not made, "Mr. Armstrong would sever his relationship with Trek and Mr. LeMond's relationship with Trek would suffer."[9]
  • LeMond "acquiesced to allow the release of a public statement that restated his views regarding Dr. Ferrari" but the statement was printed in USA Today as though it were an interview.[9][17]
  • In 2004 after LeMond's interview with a French newspaper where he made negative comments about Armstrong, Trek claimed that LeMond was in breach of the "Moral turpitude" section of their business agreement.[9]
  • LeMond was disinvited from the 2006 Trek dealer show, and not invited to the 2007 dealer show nor the 2007 Trek 100 charity ride.[9]

LeMond talked about some of these issues in a 2012 interview with the Irish radio program NewsTalk as well.[17]

Trek responded to the lawsuit in 2008 by suing to sever business ties with LeMond.[11][18] Trek's press release said that "LeMond’s suit was characterized by Burke as containing false and irresponsible allegations ". Burke also said "for years, Greg LeMond has done and said things that have damaged the LeMond brand and the Trek brand as a whole". . . . "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." [18]

Models[edit]

LeMond Tete de Course road bike
Lemond Pink and Black road bike during the 2011 MS150:City to Shore.
1997 Black LeMond OCLV Maillot Jaune
2007 Lemond Buenos Aires
  • Reno
  • Nevada City
  • Wayzata
  • Buenos Aires
  • Versailles
  • Tourmalet
  • Alpe d'Huez
  • Big Sky SLT
  • Tete de Course
  • Etape
  • Poprad
  • Sarthe
  • Fillmore
  • Zurich
  • Chambéry
  • Maillot Jaune
  • Rennes
  • Limoges
  • Victoire
  • Arrivee
  • Croix de Fer
  • LTD 86
  • LTD 89
  • LTD 90
  • Washoe

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.archive.org/stream/LemondBicycles2007Catalog/_2007Lemond#page/n1/mode/2up
  2. ^ "CYCLING CONTRIBUTIONS". Greg LeMond.com. Retrieved 10 December 2012. Greg LeMond broke a lot of ground in his cycling career. The first American to win the Tour, the first successful professional to use clipless pedals, cycling eyewear and aero bars—all common occurrences now. Greg changed the world of cycling—dramatically...Aero Handlebars: ’89 Carbon Forks: ’87 Road Racing Suspension Fork: ’91 Carbon Frames: ’86... 
  3. ^ "1991: LeMond Alpe d’Huez". calfeedesign.com. Retrieved 10 December 2012. [In 1991,] Carbonframes filled a big purchase order from international cycling champion Greg LeMond who wanted 18 frames for Team Z. Carbonframes relocated to Reno after entering an exclusive licensing agreement with LeMond Bicycles. 
  4. ^ a b Interview in Rouleur, Guy Andrews, issue five, p. 26
  5. ^ "1991: LeMond Alpe d’Huez". calfeedesign.com. Retrieved 10 December 2012. LeMond rode in the leader’s yellow jersey on his Carbonframe. Craig got his 15 minutes of fame with coverage on CNN, the Associated Press news network and National Public Radio. The companies parted amiably two years later... 
  6. ^ Frothingham, Steve. "Trek announces an end to deal with Greg LeMond". VeloNews.com. Retrieved 10 December 2012. Burke said Trek rescued LeMond’s bicycle company from near bankruptcy when it licensed the LeMond Bicycles name in 1995. 
  7. ^ Kimmage, Paul (2007-07-01). "Cycle of abuse". The Sunday Times. 
  8. ^ "It's Not About the Bikes," Nathaniel Vinton, New York Daily News, November 7, 2009
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Complaint, LeMond Cycling Inc, vs Trek Bicycle Corporation, 2008 3 20, retr 2012 10 13. from trekbikes.com.
  10. ^ Press release by Trek of April 8, 2008 to immediately sever its relationship with Greg LeMond.[dead link]
  11. ^ a b c Trek announces an end to deal with Greg LeMond, Steve Frothingham, Velo News, Published Apr. 8, 2008, Updated Apr. 9, 2008, retr 2012 10 13
  12. ^ Treks short summary of the history of their relationship with Greg LeMond.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Tour de France legend Greg LeMond, Trek Bicycle reach settlement," Nathaniel Vinton, New York Daily News, February 1, 2010
  14. ^ REPORT ON PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE WORLD ANTI-DOPING CODE AND THE USADA PROTOCOL UNITED STATES ANTI-DOPING AGENCY USADA v. LANCE ARMSTRONG, Oct 2012, pages 53-54.
  15. ^ Lance Armstrong and his ties to Trek, Don Walker, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Business of Sports. Oct 10 2012.
  16. ^ My Life With Lance Armstrong, Mike Anderson, August 31, 2012, retr 10 14 2012
  17. ^ a b Sport Saturday Greg LeMond interview, newstalk.ie, 2012 October 6, retr 2012 10 13
  18. ^ a b TREK TO IMMEDIATELY SEVER RELATIONSHIP WITH GREG LEMOND, Media Release, trekbikes.com, 2008 4 8, retr 2012 10 13.
  • 1997 Lemond Bicycle Catalog,
  • 2002 Lemond Bicycle Catalog,
  • 2007 Lemond Bicycle Catalog.

External links[edit]