SBD/November 14, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Trek President Calls Dropping Lance Armstrong "Agonizing" Decision

Burke says Armstrong deserves credit for boosting Trek's business

Trek Bicycle Corp. President John Burke said his company's decision to end its sponsorship arrangement with cyclist Lance Armstrong was "agonizing," according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Burke said, "Here’s someone who had been a great partner with Trek for a long time. You know, you’ve been hearing, ‘I’m clean. I’m clean.’ And then all of a sudden, ‘No, you’re not.’” He added that he "never asked Armstrong if he was doping." Burke: "Every once in a while it would come up. And, you know, he would vehemently deny it. And he had been tested 800 times. There was no evidence.” Burke added that he "felt he didn’t need to ask Armstrong because of his strong denials." He said, "He had said it in front of the cameras hundreds of times. So it was like, I take people at their word." Burke noted that he "did not speak to Armstrong when the company decided to cut ties." But he said that he "spoke to one of Armstrong’s agents," and that it was a "lengthy" conversation. Burke: "What Lance did was he got a lot of people in America riding bikes. That’s his legacy. Trek’s business went up because of that." Walker noted with Armstrong gone, Trek "will continue to sponsor cycling stars, not only for the exposure but because the riders help the company develop new products" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/13).

COURT REPORT: In N.Y., Michael O'Keeffe noted Armstrong's attorneys last week, in "what is apparently an attempt to keep Armstrong from testifying under oath in a lawsuit," met with Dallas-based insurance firm SCA Promotions officials to "cut a deal" settling the firm's lawsuit to reclaim bonuses paid to the cyclist for three of his seven Tour de France wins. SCA President Bob Hamman said, "There was a discussion, but nothing substantive yet." O'Keeffe noted Armstrong's attorneys last week "offered SCA $1 million to resolve the dispute" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/13).

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