VeloNews | Trek-Volkswagen calls it quits | The Journal of Competitive Cycling.
By Fred Dreier
Posted Jan. 3, 2009

The list of riders who have suited up for the Trek-Volkswagen professional mountain bike team over the years reads like a who’s who of North American off-road racing: Travis Brown, Alison Sydor, Roland Green, Susan Haywood and Jeremiah Bishop, just to name a few. But after 13 years, the Trek-Volkswagen program is calling it quits.

The news comes after Volkswagen declined to renew its contract with the Wisconsin-based bicycle manufacturer.

“The program was heavily contingent on Volkswagen’s buy in,” said Michael Browne, Trek’s brand manager for mountain biking. “The relationship will officially end at the end of the 2008 calendar year.”

Shouldn’t press releases and news articles announcing that something WILL end in the future be made public prior to the actual event that is being announced?

Could I have come up with a more complicated construction for that sentence?

More importantly, however, it is nice to know that Trek values their European-based teams more than their domestic teams, putting several American riders out of work whilst throwing a lot of money at Europeans, Kiwis and Springboks.

“Who would have ever guessed that Trek would pull out of domestic racing?” Haywood said. “I was with the team for 10 years, and it was such a good program built around some really good racers. To see Trek pull the plug with such little fanfare is frustrating. I think it deserves a better goodbye.”

But continuing with a domestic program, Browne said, simply does not fit into Trek’s budget for next year.

If Trek had any integrity, it would fund the team for this season on its own, allowing the riders that have helped make the team and the company a success at least one more year of guaranteed salary while the riders look for new sponsorships for the 2010 season, or the team attempts to to pick-up a mid-season sponsor.

But by delaying the announcement of the demise of the team until late December, many of the affected riders are going to have difficulty finding a team which still has room and budget to pay them what they would have been earning had Trek not gambled with their livelihoods.

Henry James once wrote, “What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?”

Thank you, Trek … thank you for showing your true character as a company.