Bicycle manufacturer Trek and treble Tour de France winner Greg Lemond have announced that they have settled their long-running legal dispute. The case had been due to go to court within the next few weeks, and it had been widely expected that Lance Armstrong would have been called as a witness.
That’s because the roots of the dispute between LeMond and Trek, which manufactured, marketed and distributed the range of bikes bearing his name, lay in remarks the former cyclist made to The Sunday Times in 2001 regarding Armstrong’s links to the Italian doctor, Michele Ferrari, who at the time was associated with drug allegations within the sport.
In that article, LeMond had been quoted as saying: “If Lance is clean, it is the greatest comeback in the history of sport. If he isn't, it would be the greatest fraud."
Trek alleged that those comments, and other actions on LeMond’s part, entitled it to annul its contract with him. LeMond, meanwhile, claimed that the bicycle manufacturer had not given adequate support to the range because of influence exerted by Armstrong, who rode Trek bikes on every one of his seven Tour de France wins and continues to use the brand today.
Armstrong’s former wife, Kristin, appeared in a deposition hearing in the case, when she was asked whether her ex-husband had used performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong’s lawyer, Tim Herman, who represented her had that hearing, did not allow her to respond to that line of questioning.
Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, the parties did reveal that Trek would be donating money – some $200,000 over the next 12 months, according to remarks attributed to LeMond’s attorney by the New York Daily News – to a charity associated with the cyclist, 1in6.org, which helps victims of sexual abuse.
The issue is one that is close to LeMond’s heart. In 2007, during an arbitration hearing regarding disgraced Tour de France ‘winner’ Floyd Landis, who had been stripped of the title he won the previous year after it was revealed that he had used testosterone on Stage 17, LeMond disclosed that Landis’s business manager, Will Geoghegan, had attempted to persuade him not to give evidence through blackmail, threatening to make details of sexual abuse LeMond had endured as a child and which he had told Geoghegan about in confidence.
In a joint statement, Trek President John Burke said: “Greg has a hard-won place in the Pantheon of bicycle racing, and we are proud of what we were able to accomplish together. Trek respects Greg’s efforts and commitment to the charitable foundation, 1in6.org, and Trek is pleased to lend its support to that very worthwhile endeavor.”
For his part, LeMond stated: “I am pleased to resolve the issues between Trek and myself and am happy to be able to move forward with the things important in my life. I appreciate Trek’s support for the work of 1in6.org. I take deep satisfaction in this resolution and believe it will have a positive impact on those that can benefit most from the purpose of 1in6.org.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.