Did Gwin Breach His Contract With Trek World Racing?

Jan 8, 2013 at 8:06
Jan 8, 2013
by Mike Levy  
 
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Source: 23 degrees

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The last several weeks have been a very difficult period for our company as owners of the Trek World Racing program. Despite the fact that on August 9 of last year, Aaron Gwin signed a legally binding Letter Of Intent with our team for the next three seasons, his agent wrote an email to the team in mid-December stating he had decided to race for another bike brand. Mr Gwin confirmed his agreement with our team in public statements, and he and his agent repeatedly confirmed the existence of, and commitment to, the agreement in written correspondence with us. Yet, only weeks before the team was required to submit the official team roster to UCI, Mr Gwin informed the team that he was abandoning TWR in total disregard of his contractual obligations.

The team reached out on several occasions in December in order to try and remedy whatever concerns Mr Gwin had, but these were ignored until the team received a letter from his Attorneys on December 27 stating he would not ride for our team. In the interests of the team and our sponsors, we are actively pursuing all options open to us at this point, including legal action, and remain completely surprised by Mr Gwin's unprofessional actions.

Team Director Martin Whiteley says: "This has not been an easy time for us. In the bigger picture however I find positivity in the fact that the Trek World Racing program will continue regardless of the outcome of this dispute, as no single rider is bigger than the team as a whole. Every rider who has been on our Downhill program has had the best years of their career with us, and we will continue to bring on talented riders. The team has a history of helping riders win who had not previously won, including Aaron Gwin. It's our intention to continue that type of record with new talent. I would personally like to acknowledge the complete support and loyalty we've received from our title sponsor Trek Bikes who have been unwavering in their commitment to the program since this news broke. In the interests of the fans, we hope this matter will be resolved sooner rather than later".

4 June 2011 Martin Whiteley and Paul Schlitz of Trek World Racing during the 2nd round of the UCI World Cup Downhill amp 4X in Fort William Scotland. Photo by Gary Perkin

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573 Comments

  • + 474
 shit just got real.
  • + 306
 They still have Emily Batty, don't know why they are complaining...
  • + 124
 WTF?! I am a fan of pro road cycling no longer because I was tired of the BS and negativity that envelopes that culture. Just ride and race yo bikes beeches.
  • + 51
 I doubt it - there are usually early termination policies or clauses in a contract like that. Getting attorneys involved? Good luck Trek - suing someone for NOT doing something is notoriously difficult.
  • + 145
 couldn't agree with trek more....what gwin did was quite unprofessional...especially for such a high profile athlete. i'd expect better
  • + 38
 This happens all the time in college sports, kids sign letters of intent with a school, and then change their commitment. Unless they had a signed contract this will not go anywhere.
  • + 63
 Sounds like a dick move from Aaron to leave trek with not much time to get the team together, even after signing a contract.
  • - 172
 Maybe this wouldnt happen if gwin didnt suck so much ass at riding, maybe they will strap a dildo to his seat so he can go faster.
  • - 62
 Oh god I shouldn't have commented...here comes a shitstorm of opinionated commenters just like myself ahahahah
  • + 107
 If he quit because of Trek's association with doper Lance Armstrong it is justified and Trek will not sue him because it would be horrible PR. People inside Trek had to have known Lance was doping yet they stuck by him and built a legacy on him and made alot of money off him. Now Lance is a lie, and it wouldn't be surprising if Gwin wanted nothing to do with the brand he is closely associated with. Lance made a big impact on the sport, now it has turned into crater.
  • + 90
 From Gwin's twitter:

"Proud to announce that I will be riding for Specialized moving forward. There's much more to the story than what's been shared and i'm looking forward to setting that straight very soon. Thanks to my team and fans who've had my back in this time" 22 minutes ago.

www.twitlonger.com/show/kl8jle
  • + 48
 He had just signed for 3 years, so presumably Specialized were prepared to pay the penalty clause for him leaving Trek. It's got to be a a $10m deal, but they replace Sam Hill and rob a rival of their prized rider at the same time. Smart Move.
  • + 57
 NASCAR!!!
  • + 184
 Dear downhill scene, leave the drama for the roadies. Get your panties out of a bunch and go ride; fast and recklessly. Thanks!
  • + 25
 I find it ridiculously unlikely that he would leave trek over an event which had nothing to do with mountain biking and wouldn't in any way affect his reputation as an athlete, as people would have to be very large cynics to taint every trek athlete with the same brush
  • + 70
 I think that may have been the most logical thing Protour has said. Ever.
  • + 4
 There is a closer association between road & mtb than you might expect. I think Gwin might have used to be a Lance fan, and the mid-December timing of him wanting to leave Trek makes me think Lance was a factor.
  • + 26
 trek's fault anyway for not having him under contract
  • + 23
 Simply put, settle your business befor you go public. It's possible to legally get away with anything using enough money but from now on anything he says can only be viewed as damage control. Poor conduct. Fair enough if you need a change of scenery or like the other bike better or even want more cash, just now your word and signature counts for less. Lame. That bit from protour about the doping is interesting but pure speculation, besides if he has sound reasons, it's no excuse to be immature about it. Professional should mean something on and off the track.
  • + 33
 The comment from Gwin on Twitter makes me wonder if TWR tried to low ball him and use the letter of intent as a threat.. Especially if Martin is now filing a lawsuit... Why file suit to retain the services of a rider who doesn't want to be there?
  • - 5
 10mm? That's probably the gross sales for every DH bike ever sold in the history of mankind. I think the deal is worth a wee bit less.
  • + 25
 #butthurt
  • + 31
 "The team has a history of helping riders win who had not previously won, including Aaron Gwin."

Call me crazy, but that seems like basically a jab at Gwin. I understand he's mad about the situation, but really?

And Matt-W, he did not sign for three years. There was no contract. Just a letter of intent. Those two are vastly different things.
  • + 13
 "signed a legally binding Letter Of Intent" ...i don't think that this Letter Of Intent actually was binding! then it would had been pointless to it set it up.
  • + 45
 I have to wonder if this deal was in the works before Hill left Spec. Maybe Hill didn't make the decision to leave.
  • + 10
 Letter of intent are very rarely legally binding. This is because something about consideration (ie money etc.) being a necessary part for a contract to be binding. It's why the artists that played in the 2012 opening ceromony were all paid 1 pound because they would have done it for free but the consideration ( the pound) made it a binding contract. Still perhaps a little unprofessional from Gwin but it's not like trek have a shortage of world class athletes even without Gwin. And if I was a world class athlete I would want to be with wathever team I felt supported and suited me the best and perhaps Gwin wasn't geting that at Trek. Scary to think he could have dominated like the way he did last season if that is the case though.
  • + 92
 Dear Trek,

I would be happy to stand in for Aaron Gwin this season. Please send a Session 9.9 to me, I promise I will w̶i̶n̶...try.

Ollie.
  • + 62
 spoiler: it is because they are switching the session to a 29er
  • + 1
 Why didn't Trek have him under a contract? Seems ridiculous. They should have had him locked in.
  • + 15
 when i found this out..... well..... you know when the Beatles broke up? and all their girl fans started crying because one of the greatest groups of musicians ever to come from the industry that we call rock 'n' roll.....?

well i wasn't like that, because i reckon Gwin shall rip it up on a Demo, no matter the bitterness of the trek world racing executives and what they have to say about it.......

Go on gwinny! TWR are just jelly, bro
  • + 21
 All they did was leave all options open, that letter means nothing. Maybe looks nice on the wall but thats about it. Good luck suinng Gwinn. It's not a Dick move, it's smart. Besides, who in his right mind wouldn't switch Teams if the othe party has offerings which suit you better. Gwin some, loose some.
  • + 24
 why the hell am i agreeing with protour
  • + 7
 Letter Of Intent does legally bind or fully contract someone, ever. Intention just means, "I'll probably do it, IF I want too". Example:

Go to gamestore to reserve a game that is going to come out in 30 days. You can pre-order it, and pay the reserve-a-spot price but when does it EVER mean you MUST buy the game. All you did was say, hey I want this game, doesn't mean I'll get it. My spot is reserved, but until I pay for the real game/deal, I'm not under any LEGAL expectation to buy the game.

All attorneys/legal expertise will say the same thing. From the whole situation, the manager of Trek is the one who is flipping out a little bit. It's not like Aaron will go back to Trek anyways after such threatening. Besides, Aaron hasn't shared his story yet, and you definitely need that to have some kind of argument at the very least.

Whitely guy, from what I hear isn't the nice guy...there's probably many reasons why Gwin took this convenient and golden opportunity to distance himself with Trek which is dealing with the Lance ordeal (sadly).
  • + 129
 OK after doing some sleuthing I found out a few deetz.

1. Trek World Racing and Trek are not the same. TWR is not a Factory Team
2. Gwin signed a letter of intent...not a contract
3. TWR tried to steal Minnar from Santa Cruz Syndicate a few years ago the same way
4. Monster may not be sponsoring specialized this year
5. More details will be available once this truck arrives.


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  • - 18
 Trek. If you still need a guy...... ask me, im gonna do that job, no problem Wink
  • + 13
 Seriously doubt this had anything to do with Lance and Trek, especially since Specialized riders have been stripped of tour titles. It was probably just a straight up better deal from Specialized.
  • + 33
 Protour actually made a comment with positive likes?!?! What?!
  • - 5
 maybe its cause his brakes failed last year.
  • + 18
 If Trek sue anyone it should be Armstrong for 10 years of fraud.
  • + 7
 so everybody keeps going on about aaron did this,aaron did that what about Specialized? Pro sports has a greasy dark side.
  • + 2
 For sure. I think there is more to this than just "Gwinn took the better offer"
  • + 11
 im stoked to see an edit with gwin on a demo tho!
  • + 6
 Cant wait to hear aaron's side of the story. So much drama.
  • + 8
 What if Trek succeeds and gets Gwin back, that will be one big happy family Big Grin
  • + 11
 nah.. it will be like when a divorced parent comes to visit the family when the other parent is there... i.e really awkward
  • + 1
 sorry trek but i wasn't a fan before and your not winning me over now, this kinda shit is for roadie and not downhill, plus i seem to remember lance armstrong was on trek when he got into trouble, is it something to do with trek and getting cycling into shit?...........
  • + 2
 @stew hill was offered another 2 year contract which he turned down i believe. no hard feelings there at all i think.
  • + 5
 There is always much more going on behind the scenes than many of us will ever see or know...Gwin is a stand up guy, and though this news potentially paints him in a bad light on the surface, I doubt (if the facts ever truly surface) that it is anywhere near as bad as people are speculating. I am sure he had a very good reason for doing what he did.
  • + 1
 i am just guna follow you because of your pb name is legendary + I like Scottish people
  • + 1
 haha!! too funny and too cool!! Thanks!
  • + 3
 Dick move, but how could Trek think that just because Gwin signed a letter of intent that he would be obligated to sign whatever contract they threw at him? And why would Gwin sign a letter of intent if he didn't have a contract in front of him? I'm guessing because the legally binding letter of intent didn't mean so much.
  • + 5
 about the lance thing, although he did dope, 98% of the people he was racing against also doped. im most ashamed of lance for what he did to his teammates. if nobody has read google lance armstrong doping and try to find the thing about what he did to his teammates. im to damn lazy to type the whole thing out.
  • + 12
 Everyone bashing on Gwin, hold on a minute. I think there might be more to the story than we think, as some people have said... here's a twitter post from today:

"Proud to announce that I will be riding for Specialized moving forward. There's much more to the story than what's been shared and i'm looking forward to setting that straight very soon. Thanks to my team and fans who've had my back in this time!"

Gwin is a good guy and IMO, we should wait until we know the full story before we make judgements.
  • + 8
 Agreed! Plus Gwin is actually very professional in all the videos and interviews I have ever seen. Always the best things to say about his products, team, and sponsors. You know... The way a real pro would behave.
  • + 2
 whatever bike you ride, Samtimes you lose, sometimes you Gwin Big Grin
  • + 6
 Please release the world premier "Farewell video to Aaron Gwin"! I want to compare it to Specialized's farewell video for Sam. Will it be touching and heartfelt or full of f bombs & butt hurt?
  • + 2
 One last observation...apparently what the world currently spins on is 180deg and not 23deg.
  • + 3
 I wonder if Trek will do a leaving video for Gwinn. Might be a bit different to be Hill's leaving video from Specialized.......
  • + 1
 @mwSLUGmtb wrong sponsorship man
  • + 1
 I know that was shimano. I was just blurting out. but wont he be riding SRAM with specialized?
  • + 1
 So just to be clear trek (brand) is not connected/involved with trek world racing? If they arent than i can still love trek
  • + 1
 what i meant was the trek brand is not the one suing aaron? and they are also in no way but the name connected/involved with trek world racing?
  • + 1
 bikejunkie88-TWR is a factory sponsored race team.
  • + 1
 well done 23 degrees. not only have you made a bad name for yourself in the sport for crying about this but you've also brought legalities into downhill... this sport is supposed to be fun.... stop crying and find a new rider
[Reply]
  • + 84
 "and remain completely surprised by Mr Gwin's unprofessional actions." UMAD TREK?
  • + 49
 No, they disappointed.
  • + 17
 trek is disappoint
  • + 10
 Hopefully this helps inform folks about what a letter of intent is - Straight from legal web page,

A “letter of intent” is also commonly known as a “memorandum of understanding”; a “term sheet” or a “discussion paper”. Simply put, a letter of intent is a document that outlines the general plans of the parties in a business deal before a formal business agreement is drawn up by lawyers for signing. Although a letter of intent is a document in writing, it is merely a more formal form of a “gentlemen’s agreement”. Take note that it does NOT create a legally enforceable agreement between the parties.
  • - 2
 I believe that if it states in a letter of intent that it is legally binding, it is then legally binding, standard practice. Trek will have to proove any loses they believe they have incured from this, which i think will be hard to prove and may be a waste of legal fee's to pursue. We shall see what comes of it
  • + 2
 Doubtful there is anyone on this blog that actually knows what the letter of intent stated. So instead of speculating, lets just wait and see what comes out, the truth usually finds its way to the surface of situations like these. I don't personally think there is any scandal here, just the perception of one..and I may very well be proved wrong, but for the sake of all involved and our sport, I hope not.
  • + 8
 Incorrect. A letter of intent can never be binding without mutual consideration and a meeting of the minds, regardless of whether it says its legally binfing. If TWR sues, they'll lose and look terrible. Besides, there only relief can be damages; you cant force anyone to work for you in the US and you cant deprive a person of making a living through non-competes (which are never in LOIs). LOIs can create small collateral agreements, like I won't explore other opportunities for x amount of time, but consideration must still existed for that agreement. Otherwise it is simply unenforceable in court. LOIs commonly set forth proposed terms and a due diligence period, but the true deal doesnt exist until a real agreement exists. Think of it this way. If Trek decided to drop Gwin during the LOI period before a formal contract was exexuted, Gwin would also likely be SOL and this guy Whitley would be singing a different tune - you can take that to the bank.. Now, true, unknown facts can make this complicated and none of us know what the LOI said and how things were progressing thereunder. I dont know but I'll bet Gwin had every legal right to bail, even if it looks like it is going against his word. Im giving Gwin the benefit of the doubt and that other things were happening (like why the hell wouldnt TWR execute a full agreement months ago?), but who knows.Yes, I'm an attorney.
  • + 1
 Ignore the incorrect part....I think I was responding to another post. Most of you guys have it right
  • + 0
 Martin Whiteley lies: "no single rider is bigger than the team as a whole" Gwin
was probably their most marketable asset, and they were counting on him to sell mtb's now that their image in road bikes has taken a big blow because of it's close association with Lance. Trek isn't just mad, they are scared for the future.
  • + 3
 trek is gonna be eating skittles for breakfast.....i for sure aint buying no dangggg treks anytime soon.
  • - 2
 It does show a general lack of real maturity on Aaron's part as to how the world actually operates beyond just going for more money. Burning bridges by breaking your word with one team to go race for another, isn't something that's going to do him any favours in the future. I can think of several former world champions in the 90s who did such antics and basically never got any major sponsorships ever again. He'd best be prepared to end his racing career at Specialized now because nobody else is likely to trust him enough to even show interest in him. Basically the whole affair stinks of a very "well I always wanted to race for specialized but I never had any results so they wouldn't look at me, so I raced for these other folks until I got results and now I'm bailing on them to go where I wanted to be in the first place" mindset.
  • + 3
 we are assuming that the world trusts bike companies and they are trustworthy, thus we should return them the favor at all times.
  • + 1
 Let's not forget that this LOI may very well be a MOU that has been signed by both parties.

While it is highly unlikely (but not impossible) that a Court would deem a LOI a final contract concerning Gwin's employment/sponsorship, it may still be a valid contract concerning the terms of the negotiations. Gwin may have committed to negotiate in good faith pursuant to an LOI (or MOU) and Trek may have provide non-monetary consideration in exchange for the LOI (e.g, holding off on replacing his sorry ass immediately with another rider). This alone could present a reasonable basis for a legal claim if Gwin did not negotiate accordingly and already intended to go with Specialized.

It goes without saying that there are many other potential legal claims depending on the facts. To make a definite statement as to the merits of Trek's claim (or potential claims) appears foolhardy
  • + 1
 In the UK, a LOI that states it is legally binding, makes it legally binding. I am sure this is the same in other countries but i do not know any other countries law. Trek may have a right to sue for incovenience and losses on this basis. I dont care what they do, who Gwin rides for, just hope the season is awesome and i get to watch it online where the feed doesnt freeze all the time.

A Legally binding LOI is designed to allow two parties to make arrangements and have something set in place so as to save costs, time and resources for the future contractual agreement. Renegging on the LOI will cost Trek at this late stage. I am just saying Smile
  • + 1
 in Romania, a LOI has never been heard of, and a contract is never enforced legally. It is all settled using fists and chest bumps! Gwin and his former manager should settle it like big boys!
  • + 2
 In eastern europe, they just say "I kill you!" And it sorts it all out Wink
[Reply]
  • + 47
 Trek snagged Gwin from Yeti now Spesh snagged Gwin from Trek. Gwin is clearly minding his own business. Getting lawyers involved is crazy.
  • + 75
 I like when riders change teams. Mix things up a bit. We will see how fast the Demo really can go next season i think.
  • + 21
 But Trek did it legally at the end of his contract with Yeti. Chris from Yeti said they could of sign Gwin, but they instead wanted to spend the money on rider development. If Gwin did do what Trek said he did...Then I lost all respect for him. But I'm not at all surprised at Specialized doing this kind of shit. Lets see what Gwin has to say....I'll try to find the video or link where Chris said that.
  • + 9
 @superspencer Amen to that. Exciting times ahead. This is going to be one of the most watched seasons yet. I just hope that WCDH doesn't de-volve too much into a pro-wrestling type of headspace. At the end of the day, who rides for what company and all that stuff really has no bearing on your average rider. It's all about having fun on your bike, hanging with friends and riding where and when you feel like riding. If I were to sell my beloved Demo because my favorite rider isn't riding one anymore, I'd definitely need to go get psychological counselling.
  • + 13
 if trek fined a way to keep gwin its never going to be the same on the team
  • + 5
 If this is going to work out for Aaron and Spec, then that will be one of the best things that happened to that sport! This is fkn amazing! Nothing brings so much attention than a controversial conflict between big powers!
  • + 2
 This is why sport professionals have managers. They get the best deal for the client and the client doesn't get his reputation tarnished (too much). Gwin can't race at the top forever, so Houseman got him the best deal while the money is flowing. Though, it might have been a bitch move to wait until Trek was about to sign and then said they won't sign. Probably, all top 10 WC riders have their 2013 contracts sorted so finding a Gwin replacement might be difficult.
  • + 12
 Even if Gwin is made to ride for Trek, he won't be the same if he is forced onto the team, he won't try as hard or be such a good ambassador for the brand, I think it would be in Trek's interest to let him go I think anyway.
  • + 3
 My guess is the letter of intent was signed it good faith, then a deal couldn't get done. Be it money or whatever, he signed no real contract. I feel bad though, I felt the session was a better fit for his style than the demo. And what about Tomac???? That's the big question in my mind.
  • + 2
 And guess who's all going to pay for this in the end.......Well, that Glory sure looks nice now doesn't it?
  • + 3
 getting lawyer involve..yeahhh! this is murica thing
  • + 4
 @Jhou, thanks for the link. Who wouldn't want to support Yeti after reading that. Those guys are awesome. I'm sure this is the sort of sentiment Hill finds attractive with Nukeproof.
  • + 1
 Re : Tomac... as in Eli? As long as he keeps doing well in motocross there's no reason for him to take up bicycle racing. People seem to forget that Gwin basically had to retire from motocross racing due to his continuous injuries from crashes. Eli hasn't had that problem as of yet. Racers tend not to go from well paying sports they're good in to lesser paying ones, unless there's a reason they have to do so. Julianna Furtado became a mountain bike racer due to repeated injuries and multiple knee surgeries in Alpine ski racing (she was the youngest member of the US National Ski team from 1980 to 1987).
  • + 1
 And if you meant Johnny T who was coaching Aaron in 2011... well one would hope that Tomes would have had the good sense to tell Aaron not to burn bridges so early in his career, if he was still acting as one of his coaches.
  • + 1
 Guys , are you telling John Tomac and Aaron Gwin what they could, should do? Zoom out a bit, step away from the keyboard, take a bit of perspective, maybe take a piece of paper and a pen write few achievements of yours that justify your role as a judges in that case.
You have next to no chance to know how this business works, otherwise you would not be here, writing this pish. Maybe John told Gwin to go to Spec?

It's ok to speculate but hell, this goes to bookie addicted football couch experts level. It is a very small world this MTB thing, finding a way to reach those people is a matter of few minutes, go tell them all those serious arguments of yours. I can help you to contact them, PM me
[Reply]
  • + 25
 Theres only a few things I would like to know. . .
1. Will Gwin still be wearing his Redbull helmet?
2. Will we finally see Saint parts on a demo?
3. Who will fill the gap on TWR?

Pretty big surprise, since Gwin just signed the 3 season contract. . .
  • + 5
 Ive got a feeling about Matti Lehekoinen, red bull rider, no bike for next season, used to race for Whitely on the Honda team...
  • - 6
 No saint parts on the Demo - He's running a SRAM/Avid set-up according to the Post the other day that initially shocked us. Lol
  • + 23
 macdonald is going to trek
  • + 4
 He's still with red bull, just got a new RB helmet up on his FB page....but seeing how is with team contracts, maybe he'll jump ship on that too now, LOL
  • + 11
 "Aaron will be supported with frames and tires." Vital MTB
  • + 5
 Its almost like no one actually reads the contenet on here sometimes Smile
@Bmxerch Where on earth did you read he was running sram????
  • + 2
 I call he runs Fox! I say this cuz on his fb page he has the Fox paged 'liked' along with special so its obviously been updated
  • + 6
 The press release for specialized said FRAME and TYRES. The rest of the package will be made up by his other sponsors..........
  • + 4
 man that will be rad fox and saint on demo dammm gwin this is gonna be a hot season
  • + 6
 Gwin didn't sign a contract. Let's stop saying this.
  • + 0
 For sure, with a FOX on the demo, I think the frame will have some things change in the geometry...because FOX40 tend to hit pretty bad the head of the frame, so, I think that is one thing specialized have bad, that is pretty much for Boxxer suspensions...
  • + 1
 I cant get into twitter for some reason, what has Brook tweeted?
  • + 1
 "Can't wait to have my new bike !! Can anyone guess??" Wink
  • + 2
 I swear I read it somewhere... Maybe it might have been Sam Hill's move with CRC... Yeah that's it actually. My bad. Haha fuck.
  • + 0
 A1.... Gwin will still have a red bull helmet to my knowledge, he will not have Shimano support and probably won't have Fox support. TWR will end up with Bulldog probably as he has been shopping himself around and maybe even Minnar, maybe. I kind of doubt it though as he is pretty loyal to Rob at Santa Cruz.
[Reply]
  • + 23
 Christ - I read about 300 of the posts here and wondered what planet some of you have been living on.
1. As has been presented by a few obviously legally adept types on here, an LOI is not a contract. Yes, it can be written with very binding language, but at the end of the day in 90% of the jurisdictions it is NOT a contract.
2. Gwin left no-one 'in the lurch'. MTB has no 'trading period' - just ridiculous calendar year contracts with clauses banning negotiation with others until the end of such period. As a president of IMTTO, Martin Whitely would know this...
3. MTB is as much about loyalty as every professional sport - so not very much at all. The fact that some of you feel differently simply shows that the marketing used to leverage off these commercial arrangements is working well, so well done to the marketing folk!
4. A real PROFESSIONAL - and I am not just talking about Gwin here, MR WHITELY - does not air their dirty laundry in public. If the legal issues get sorted on your side then fine, put out a press release, but now you will look like a bit of a tool if it turns out Gwin was, as I suspect, perfectly within his legal rights to pursue another deal. to the best of my knowledge, Gwinny has made no comments of a disparaging nature towards TWR.... he has instead acted in a professional manner.
  • + 2
 Thank you. An intelligent post. Obviously something was going on in the team if in December he wanted to move. Not to mention he did what he could to get out.
  • + 2
 gavind's legal knowledge from Night Court
  • + 1
 ^ Oh he think he's John Laroquette
  • + 1
 Common sense stuff really. Thanks. Everyone says Gwin's doing a low blow...just a little tiny bit at the most, but nothing dramatic as most people are making this out to be.
  • + 1
 No, leelau, not night court...three years of running a WC team (most of which was spent having lawyers in Europe, the US and Australia tell what to do and what not to do). Their advice at the time seems pretty close to what the few posts on here who seem to know what they are talking about have already stated. (the other piece of advice I was given was never trust any professional athlete who says 'trust me!') The thing missing here that you will see in most professional sports is the big ugly gorilla in the room - the sport's governing body. The UCI couldn't give a rats about MTB team issues - never has. I'd be a bot more worried if I were Gwin in they were more involved as historically governing bodies have sided with whomever whines the loudest, regardless of the legal issues.
  • + 1
 All.... A Letter of Intent is a non-binding document that outlines a proposed understanding between two or more parties who wish to finalize the details for a future transaction. It is not a legally binding document.... Gwin can ride for whom ever he wants. That said, its a bit of a cock manoeuvre
  • + 2
 gavin - bottom line is that there's not enough information. Story's out only from one side. No-one (probably not even Gwin's side or TWR or they do they'd be smart and not bash this out in public) knows all the relevant information.

On the legal nerd side, whether the LOI is binding or not depends on many things. Armchair "lawyers" who state definitive pronouncements without even reading the LOI or knowing the underlying facts are laughable; like TV news legal expert muppets pontificating dramatically stuffed into suits and ties. If you haven't read the LOI (and unless your sources are really really good you haven't) then just give it a rest.
  • + 1
 Having had one of the riders I managed on one of Martin's teams a while back, and having seen the LOI he was given (and knowing that most of us in the industry are pig lazy and thus change the names and dates) I'd say my sources are better than some...
  • + 1
 gavin if they are templates then I agree with you. I also agree that the bike industry is light on professionalism and therefore that it is highly likely that the same vanilla LOI is probably reused and recycled again and again. In light of that background I concede that you probably do have good insight.
[Reply]
  • + 21
 I'm disappointed to see Gwin leave Trek because he did so well. However, it's just business. Gwin is going to do what he thinks is best for his career and his future. He knows that a DH career cannot last forever due to the toll it takes on one's body, and he is also aware that an injury could end his career in an instant. Therefore, he has to have long-term plans for his financial future and if Specialized made a better offer then he simply could not refuse it. Nothing personal. There is no question that Gwin considers the Trek/Fox/Shimano equipment to be among the best there is. However, Specialized/Sram is too. Gwin might even bring Fox & Shimano over to Specialized and feel at home on the suspension products. However, both the Boxxer and Fox 40 are equally successful on the track. Just ask Minnar. Gwin feels he can win on any top-level equipment, especially since he can work with the company and technicians to hone it to be perfect for him. I wish great success to Gwin on any equipment and I look forward to seeing how the 2013 WC season plays out. Good luck Gwin!
  • + 2
 via Specialized Bicycles - January 7, 2013
"Specialized is pleased to announce the signing of Aaron Gwin to the 2013 Specialized DH program. Aaron will be supported with frames and tires. He will be joining teammates Troy Brosnan and Mitch Ropelato."
Fox, Specialized, and Shimano, what could be better?
  • - 2
 troy lee designs, kona, and sram could be better @Bikeordeath
[Reply]
  • + 21
 That doesn't sound good, but let's wait for further statements. I'm curious what will Gwin himself say about the situation... I hope he won't turn out to be a dick.
  • + 24
 Maybe Gwin heard a calling from above to join Specialized.
  • + 20
 Lol, little baby Jesus probly rides a Specialized.
  • + 17
 God told him to join Specialized via the prospect of having lots more zeros at the end of his bank balance.
  • + 7
 I saw the red S on the Specialized Christmas ad....it can only mean one thing....SATAN...!
  • + 4
 Thats what trek wants you to think
  • + 1
 stupid move on gwinns part, specialized sucks ass...
  • + 1
 Sweet, 7 pound, 6 ounce, baby jesus rides a demo. Your argument is invalid.
  • + 1
 ok ok we all have opinions ;p
[Reply]
  • + 12
 oh you've been a naughty boy Aaron
  • + 2
 that's jewish name btw!
  • + 25
 Dear Trek,

I would be happy to stand in for Aaron Gwin this season. Please send a Session 9.9 to me, I promise I will w̶i̶n̶...try.

Ollie.
  • - 5
 I really hope he starts losing, this is a pretty damn low thing to do.
  • + 3
 ^^totally agree but I would like to see him ride for specialized. Trek should just make him give them some cash and let him ride. He obviously would rather ride for Specialized so I think they should let him go. But ya, very unprofessional thing to do on Gwinny's part
[Reply]
  • + 15
 A letter of intent is not a contactual obligation. It's in very simple terms an agreement to consider an agreement and is very difficult to enforce. A contract is a "meeting of minds" and it often happens that people sign letters of intent to sign a contract but when reading the contract don't agree with the terms and are not obligated to sign it. That is even if they have made a letter of intent.
  • + 1
 Its not a contract, but it is generally legally binding. What exactly he is legally bound really all depends on what the letter of intent says. In general, a LOI is signed when enough of the details are worked out to feel comfortable that a contract can be reached. I'm sure that this LOI, even at its most basic level had to at least contain a provision to negotiate in good faith and to provide exclusivity to Trek to negotiate with him this offseason. So I'm sure it fairly certain that Gwinn was in breach of some portion of the letter of intent.
  • + 8
 Even if the LOI covers some of these points a contract or "meeting of minds" has not been signed so neither party has obligation to carry through anything to do with the contract. Trek could quite easily have done the opposite and withdrawn the offer of a contract. Until a contact has been signed there is nothing to be in breach of.
  • - 1
 k333 - Thats just not correct. They may not have to carry through with a contract but there could certainly be aspects of the LOI that can be binding and could be breached.
  • + 8
 I'd be guessing that Aaron would not have made the move that he has just made without the advise of a lawyer. He knows that he is safe and I'm sure he is getting expert legal advise. This will blow over.
  • + 2
 lol .... how meaningful is a Loi if you can't withdraw. theres is a fundamental diference between a Loi and a pre-contract. it constitutes no obligation to a contract conclusion.
  • + 2
 sino428 Lesson 1 of writing an exam READ THE QUESTION. "Did Gwin Breach His Contract With Trek" Answer = No
Cirest is correct that their is a distinct difference between a pre contract and a LOI. A LOI is a "we intend to" not a "we will do". If you sign a letter of intent you are only confirming that you want to enter into negotiations with the other party.
  • + 3
 Without seeing the LOI, there is no way of knowing whether he has committed any breach in the agreement. Usually, penalties are part of an agreement and as long as you pay the penalties you are adhering to the agreement. I would assume that he was aware of any potential penalties and was willing to deal with them based on the benefits of the opportunity with Specialized. Wether he did anything unethical or not remains to be seen, hopefully not. Business is business and TWR will always do what is in their best interest (i.e. taking legal action). The career of a DH racer is short lived. If AG had an opportunity to significantly improve his financial well being for his life beyond racing, you can't blame him. I'm sure there is more to the story..
  • + 3
 I'm sure this will all end up ok. At the end of the day Gwinns doing whats best for him, and Trek is doing what they need to do so that they don't get walked all over in the future. All these parties I'm sure have good legal representation and have a good idea how it will play out. They''ll probably end up settling, Specialized will pay Trek some some of money, basically a buyout, and everyone will go about their business. I'm curious to hear Gwinns side of the story here too.
  • + 1
 K333 - I'm not going to sit here and split hairs with you over the details of whether we are talking about a LOI or contract. Its irrelevant to the point, which is ultimately if Gwinn broke any legal obligations to TWR by leaving. Bottom line is that a LOI can be binding or can have penalties, it all depends on what the thing says. Its just incorrect to categorize a LOI as simply a "we intend to" do something. Its more than just confirming that you want to enter negotiations.
[Reply]
  • + 13
 "no single rider is bigger than the team as a whole" unless your Aaron Gwin, Man looks like he doused the bridge with white gas and lit the match. I love to see big co trying to back pedal. Yup its all about the people at the top.
[Reply]
  • + 13
 This is going to be awesome court battle. Gwin should just threaten to reveal more about treks underhanded dealing tactics and they should leave him alone. If not write a tell all book about that slime bag team manager-drug dealer and how trek is the evil underworld of cycling. That should cover your court costs and then some $$$$$. Letter of intent not going to hold up in court. Trek sounds like a little baby playing alone in the sandbox. Uhh gwin told me he was coming over to play for next three years and never showed up, now I sue him. I guess he found someone better to play with. Its going to be tense at the races, Gwin better watch his back and bike. Trek going to send ninja bike tampering team in again.
  • + 16
 Hope Trek won't sabotage his brakes... oops Wink
  • + 8
 Is Monk leaving TWR also ??
[Reply]
  • + 10
 Can a Letter of Intent be Legally Binding?

In many instances, the first step in negotiating a commercial transaction is to agree upon the business terms of the transaction in the form of a letter of intent or a term sheet. If not careful, these documents can have a legally binding impact and, therefore, should be reviewed by an attorney prior to being finalized and executed.

Depending on the specific language in a letter of intent, a party could be obligated to negotiate the proposed commercial transaction in good faith and not negotiate with any other parties, even if a better offer arises prior to the execution of the formal agreement. Such an obligation could arise if both parties manifest an intent to be legally bound by the letter of intent, the terms of the agreement are sufficiently definite to be enforced, and consideration has been given. In one instance, a court found that a duty to negotiate in good faith arose from a detailed letter of intent in which a party promised to withdraw a piece of property from the market and only to negotiate with the other party to the letter of intent.
  • + 2
 This. Bare in mind he had never signed on the dotted line for the contract!
  • + 2
 yay - finally someone got it right. But I had to scroll down halfway to see it
  • + 0
 This is spot on. At a bare minimum these LOI's at least contain the obligation to negotiate in good faith and I would think provide the exclusivity. I mean otherwise why would you even have one. It would be worthless.
  • + 4
 It is no accident that almost every time an athlete decides to leave a team high and dry the team cries "no loyalty", we got hosed, etc. And yet when teams decide to kick athletes to the curb after years of service, few people scream bloody murder about it. Professional DH racing is a business, just like any other sport. In that context, Gwin has the right (and almost the responsibility) to maximize his net worth.

In my opinion, this a bad tactic for Trek. Should've taken the high ground and thanked Gwin for his time on the Trek team and everything he did for the brand.

Legal action in public is marketing cancer... no matter the outcome, Trek will come out of this a massive loser.
  • + 1
 layton - I agree with all of this EXCEPT for the fact that Gwinn and at the very least made his intentions clear that he planned to stay with Trek. Like you said, teams drop guys, guys leave and all that, but its generally done when a contract is up. And when the contracts are up its all fair game. Teams never drop guys mid contract and teams generally don't cry when a guy leaves when his contract is up. Whats coming into play here is that Gwinn had committed to TWR. The question is what was the actual level of that commitment and was it a scumbag move to back out. We wont know any of this until more detail is known.
  • + 1
 "Teams never drop guys mid contract and teams generally don't cry when a guy leaves when his contract is up" well that's the kind of thing you see on a daily basis in football (soccer) for instance.

But where I fully agree is we should wait to know every party's opinion (TWR, Gwin) before we have a full picture and start to make statements and judge one or the other.
[Reply]
  • + 10
 Well, a letter of intent is not the same as a binding contract. It's designed to lay out certain aspects of negotiation before a contract is signed and show intent of eventually signing a contract (in many cases), but is not normally legally binding, where as a contract is final and legally binding. Makes me wonder if there were some issues both sides couldn't agree upon.
  • + 3
 Well said... that is my hunch that there may be some underlying issues being kept under wraps, which obviously prevented Aaron from signing a binding contract with TWR during the past few months of negotiation. Judging by his character and personality he has shown us over the past few years, he doesn't seem to be the type to sign a contract to bail out of it. So I'll be waiting to hear what statements come from the Gwin camp, since if there were any issues that concerned Aaron, you know TWR won't be mentioning it first.
  • + 1
 Makes me wonder if the language of the LOI was such that Gwinn wound up being bound to signing a contract.
[Reply]
  • + 10
 Letters of intent are traditionally NOT legally binding. This happens all the time in college sports where a kid signs a letter of intent while in high school to go to one university, ends up changing his mind and goes to another. It is the name of the game. Why didn't Trek lock his contract down in Aug? I am sure there was/is much more going on behind the scenes.
  • + 0
 That's not true at all. LOI are almost always legally binding in some respect. And your example is off base too. Once college players sign a letter of intent they are bound. Players rarely ever change after that and if they do its a difficult process. Players often give a "verbal commitment" to schools then change, but rarely do they reverse course after actually signing an LOI.

If they want to transfer after signing the LOI, they must get a release from that coaches school, who will often put restrictions on which schools/conferences they can switch too.

I mean think about it, if there was nothing legally binding, why would anyone ever bother with an LOI in the first place? They'd be nothing more than a worthless piece of paper.
  • + 1
 Dunno? Maybe the LOI says they are exclusively discussing a contract untill dec. 31st? I'm no lawyer so I don't know how possible that is. Just guessing.
  • + 2
 Yea it could be, a LOI just like a contract is all dependent on what it actually says. Unfortunately we don't know what it says. Heck, Trek could be he one in breach for all we know.

My point really is just that LOI's can and are binding, at least in some respects even if minor. Like I said, if they weren't why would anyone bother ever signing them?
  • + 3
 The ramifications of a broken contract are arbitrary and can only be judged by the party breaching them. If there was an enforceable contract in place, Specialized may have deemed it worth their while to absorb any material damages incurred by Gwin's breach as simply a cost of doing business. TWR is simply butthurt over being out-gunned by Specialized. Happens in major money sports all the time.
  • + 1
 @sino428 ...Riiiight, LoI are binding in the fact the ink may be bound to the paper it was applied to, that's about it. My example is not off base as I have been affiliated with the NCAA for years and years, and have seen that happen many times. There is no 'transfer' if they change their minds before they matriculate, but yes depending on the agreement the player *might* be held accountable for something but usually it isn't much and most coaches do the right thing and let the player go (if that is even referenced at all in the LoI. Yes it is a type of contract, but any lawyer worth their salt will have a loosely worded one so as to let their client still keep their options open. Most parties just do it to give everyone warm and fuzzies, but in most cases it is exactly that, worthless pieces of paper.

www.kowi.de/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-77/235_read-254
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_intent
www.frostbrowntodd.com/resources-53.html
  • - 1
 vhp - Your post just explained why your example was off base in the first place. An LOI in college sports is binding. Yes, sometimes coaches just let the kid out free and clear, but they don't have too, and that's the point. The coach, if he wanted to, could simply not release the player. It doesn't happen because why would they want an unhappy kid on their team. But coaches do often place restrictions on where a player can go if they grant the release. It happens all the time. The will restrict the kid from playing in a certain conference, or for a team on their schedule the next season etc. And yes you are correct, sometimes a LOI may in fact be worded so it a worthless piece of paper, but it also can be binding. You just don't know because it all depends on what is written in the letter. Its just incorrect to assume there was nothing binding there without knowing the detail.
  • + 2
 Dude just re-read my replies. It says it all in there. Over it.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Good for him. Trek doesn't care about Gwin; they just care about the money he can make for them. So why is it bad for him to move on to something better? They're pissed, but he's still a gnarly rider. You don't become one of the best racers by being a good business man or putting on a show.
  • + 3
 If thats the case they are lucky he moved to specialized, who aren't all about the money clearly. Could take gwins name and trek out, put hill and spesh in and it would be like a comment i read last week.
[Reply]
  • + 12
 specialized management:
"-money talks!"
Gwinn response:
"- I'm listening..."
  • + 4
 hahaaaa. good one
  • + 1
 probably a bit more to that... but yes money has a very loud voice
[Reply]
  • + 13
 i don't expect to see a fairwell edit from trek
[Reply]
  • + 11
 No matter what happens this will hang over Gwins head all season. I hope he can handle the added pressure.
[Reply]
  • + 8
 C'mon Pinkbike, why not a bit more journalism work... being a news site isn't just about posting up news releases, it's also about providing context. which implies interviews, behind the scenes research etc... all of which I'm sure Pinkbike has done, caus' you guys are well integrated in the industry and you're also starting to really take the journalism side of your site seriously. With a title like this one, I expected an analysis piece, not just Whitely's stated position.
[Reply]
  • + 11
 I would really like to see a video of gwin explaining himself
[Reply]
  • + 5
 www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/536279/mixed-reactions-to-possible-lance-armstrong-confession.html

Look at this, banned around the time of Gwinns ageeed three year extension and now a public confession, can't blame Gwinn for not wanting to be associated with this and making a moral choice to leave the broken machine. I think this is what it is all about, I mean sure the money might be better at specialized, but I think there is more to it just money. This whole lance thing is about to get alot more messy, who,would want to be in that camp!?
  • - 3
 That's ridiculous. I think it is as simple as Specialized was willing to spend a lot of money to replace Sam Hill. Trek is pissed because there isn't enough time to sign a high calibre rider before next season.
  • + 1
 I know its purely speculation but I wouldnt be at all surprised if that was the case, I'm not ruling it out anyway, that would be "ridiculous"... Gwin seems like a decent guy, this whole thing is out of character for him so the whole drug thing could well be enough for him to jump ship, especially when you consider his Christianity.
  • + 3
 @a-r-c

Armstrong getting stripped of his Tour titles? its a huge deal in the road cycling world (I am currently more involved in that that MTB's)

the Armstrong drug-cheating scandal is seriously hurting Trek as a brand (perhaps not in direct sales to customers, but certainly in terms of "brand reputation") and its not surprising that Professional athletes like Gwin don't want to be involved in riding for Trek Wink
  • + 1
 I find it hilarious how Paolo Bettini is criticizing Lance, good old cover up tactic of fucking the other guy over to take heat off yourself. When you're two time world champion in road don't say anything about other top riders, you clearly aren't clean yourself.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 A letter of intent isn't a contract, if it was, it would be called a 'contract'. Who knows which side decided on this 'soft committal' but they ether got it very wrong or very right depending on which side of the fence wanted it.

I don't think it's all about money, if it was AG or his management would have used to offer from Spesh to bump up TWR's offer and vice versa.

Begs the question though, Sam Hill, did he jump, or was he pushed?
  • + 2
 good question Smile but mine is who will win first on the new seat? Gwin or Hill? Smile will be interesting and xciting
  • + 1
 I vote for Gwin!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 I LOVE GWIN AND I LOVE SPECIALIZED!!!!!!!! This season is going to be awesome!!! And with Hill on a new bike and hopefully re-motivated, Minnaar taking the world champs last year, Hart still wanting the top spot on the podium and a slew of other young competition like Stevie Smith. This season is sure to be one for the record books!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 8
 so Whiteley gets a bit of his own medicine after Neethling and others were treated the same........
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I feel like pinkbike should have waited for the entire truth to pan out and made one big article covering the whole thing and explaining the different aspects (such as the contract), instead of these little snippets of info that cause all of this wild speculation..either way whatever is happening certainly seems sketchy.
  • + 3
 I'm sitting home with nothing to do becouse of all this sh*ts behind a window. I'm really happy that something is going on! =D Super stoked, waiting for another article...
  • + 1
 No way man, look at all these comments and discussion. I have something to do today.
  • + 0
 Yeah f*ck waiting!!!! Do you really want to be reading this news broken first by MTBR.com???? You know that no other site would have waited. That being said....Im totally f*cking stunned. I thought all these AG rumors were complete bullshit last weekend.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Not responding to the calls of youre ex-coworkers and people youve been together for years, and the get lawyers involved at the same time as a first response is just not right. I think Gwinn lost a lot of karma in most of our eyes.
And for those who think he changed becouse for the bike, its stupid... That way, we should think that Sam changed becouse nukeproof pulse is better than the Demo... Its never about the bike, its about money. And Specialized has a lot of it!! ( actually so does TREK :/ )
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Now I really wonder why Sam Hill left, doesn't make sense, HILL, GWIN AND BRONSAN are a way more lethal combo than Gwinn, Bronson and Mitch,.I predict Sam will be back to his winning ways aboard his new steed and will take the crown for 2013
  • + 3
 If I was Hill I wouldn't want to be second fiddle to anyone.
  • + 1
 probably faircloughs reason as well if specialized didn't dump him
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Cry me a river trek! Gwin didn't like something/someone within your company enough to leave, maybe it's because most racers can't afford your DH bike without a sponsorship. Good for Gwin not being a pushover.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 trek aren't exactly saints either. they seemed fine to turn a blind eye and go for the money grab with armstrong for all those years then drop him and pretend to be surprised/misled blah blah blah.. gwin gave it a little whiskey throttle and got out.. good for him.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I wonder if in general if this story doesn't go well beyond the dirt? I wonder if there is a possibility that there are inter-workings that have resulted from the Armstrong debacle. Look at the time line here it all fits. What really goes on behind the scenes....If I was positioned to potentially become one of the all time greatest riders in the sport and I held myself to impeccable standards (which after 10 minutes of chatting with Gwin you get it) I sure would be very careful who I aligned myself with and If I was in a position to make a positive move...I would make the move, even though in the short term I may get some bad press. Who will remember any of this at the end of the season if he dominates once again?

Maybe I am way off in left field but sure seems interesting.
  • + 2
 I blame Obama.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Notes to be addressed!

1)Martin Whiteley, is only pissed because he’s no longer going to get a big part of pie “Cash” that Gwin brings in. This guy is a bottom feeder that only takes on top athletes when he know he can make a $$$$ of them. The only “Legal” part that he is worried about, is the fact that his image will look bad as far as keeping a team together and the fact that money is walking out the door.

2)A letter of intent is not a “Contract” but a statement of possible intentions to extend an existing contract or resign..... at the end of the day, if nothing was signed..... nothing is legit.

3) Gwin went for the money and there are no problems with that! MTB doesn’t last forever and these guys need to make money.

4) There is no need to attack the guy or make fun of his religion.

Just my 2 cents!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Seems hypocritical on whitelys part considering he tried doing the same thing with minaar a few years ago....it was a letter of intent gwin did nothing wrong these riders are barely makIng a living. gwin had to go where he felt he would be financially stable, this says more about the sport than gwins character, shit happens all the time in other racing move on....and good luck to gwin!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Zink just posted "I'm looking forward to seeing you in your new kit even more than your new bike! Gonna finally look fast before you ride"

Guess this confirms he'll be running TLD gear not Fox Head as some people had thought...
  • + 1
 maybe I'm living under a rock but wasn't TWR on royal?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Further, a letter of intent could be interpreted as a binding agreement if the parties indicated their agreement on the essential terms to the transaction and the subject matter thereof. If any of the terms are left open for future negotiation, however, the informal letter of intent should not form the basis of a binding contract. As a result, it is important to clearly set forth in the letter of intent that there is no obligation to negotiate in good faith and that the letter of intent is not intended to be a binding contract. In most instances, an unsigned term sheet can accomplish the same purpose as a signed letter of intent. To be on the safe side, the unsigned term sheet should still include a provision that there is no obligation to negotiate in good faith and that the term sheet is not a legally binding contract. The parties may desire that the letter of intent be a legally binding contract. However, the details of most transactions are normally not discussed until the drafting of a full agreement and, therefore, the parties should be careful and only use such legally binding letters of intent if absolutely necessary
[Reply]
  • + 3
 its awesome that he switched. Added a little bit of excitement! He was insanely fast on the trek but looked boring, boring kit, boring bike. At least spesh we all know will have something cool as they always do.I like the anarchy move from gwin too! so awesome!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 So much speculation in the comments section and no one actually knows the whole story. We've only been given small bits of info. Gwin has never given us reason to doubt his character so why do it now based on some media report?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Remember, TWR and Trek are not the same entity. TWR is really nothing more than a team that is heavily sponsored by Trek.

The letter of intent and a contract are two different things. Let's face it, Sam's departure changed the sponsorship landscape big time. Gwin may have said to TWR "Here is what Spec just offered." And, if TWR's offers weren't as good, he didn't respond. Also, remember, this press release is only one side of the story. Maybe in the future, we will here Gwin's side of it..

It seems Gwin's deal with Spec will be different than Troy and Mitch.. Spec stated his deal is for frame and tires. That tells me they may have left the door open for Gwin to continue with Fox and Shimano..

Should be interesting...
  • + 1
 All this is true, but the LOI more than likely contained an exclusivity provision, meaning Gwinn was probably not allowed to shop himself to other teams while bound by the LOI. Thats what the purpose of the LOI is in its most basic form.
  • + 2
 Well, I suspect Gwin's lawyers found a loophole.. They may claim negotiations broke down.. It seems Gwin notified them in some way that things weren't going to be satisfactory for him... I think it will go like this TWR had an offer on the table. Spec came to Gwin after it was clear Sam was leaving and made an offer. When TWR couldn't match it, he left. I think the key will be who contacted whom first. If Gwin contacted spec first, he could potentially be breaching the LOI. But, if you are Gwin and an email shows up from Spec with a big money offer, would you hit the delete button? He is the winningest rider on the WC circuit and his stock value went up. Sometimes that can price people out of the picture. I think TWR got out bid and they couldn't secure the extra funding to match or better the offer from Spec. They probably hit up Trek for more money and Trek didn't have enough or didn't want to get into a bidding war with Spec..
  • + 1
 lumpy - yea I wouldn't be surprised if it was something like that. But if Specialized did approach him and offer money, that could be against the terms of the LOI. My guess is that it wasn't a loophole, but more just that Gwinn/Specialized know the consequences and will deal will accept them. They were probably bound and in breach in some way but what is Trek going to do? They can't force Gwinn to ride for them nor would they want him back now. They'll likely sue on a somewhat valid basis, Specialized will counter, they'll settle and that will be it.
  • + 2
 Ultimately, I think it comes down to this.. Martin is pissed he didn't sign Gwin to that 3 year deal sooner. He waited, Hill's spot at Spec opened up, and Spec went shopping for the fastest guy they could. And when they found out Gwin wasn't signed, they opened up the checkbook. Back in August, he may have had every intent of sticking with TWR, but in December the game changed. We don't know, Gwin may have negotiated in good faith right up until the offer came in from Spec and he found out he was worth more to someone else. LOI or not, he wasn't under contract. If both sides can't come to an agreement, where does that leave the LOI? I am sure after the offer from Spec came through, Gwin's offer to TWR went up quite a bit.

Personally, I would love to see Trek do a PR distancing themselves from this lawsuit mess and simply say Thanks to Aaron and good luck in the future and leave TWR/ 23 degrees to fight this on their own.
  • + 1
 That would be nice but I can also understand Trek's POV. If there was something binding and they don't fight it, it makes any future LOI they may sign a rider too worthless. I wouldn't think they want some nasty legal battle and the bad publicity, but I can see why they might at least fight it a little.
  • + 1
 But, this isn't Trek filing suit... In fact, Trek has nothing to do with this. Trek is just the team sponsor. Gwin's paycheck came from 23 Degrees, not from Wisconsin. And, just because a media savvy marketing guy says there was a "legally binding Letter of Intent" doesn't make it so. Martin isn't known for being a saint himself... This is no different that when he tried to lure Minaar away from Santa Cruz a few years back... Martin lost then and he just lost again... Perhaps Martin is taking too big of a paycheck or Trek's monetary commitment to the team isn't bottomless...
  • + 1
 Yea Trek, TWR, 23 Degrees all the same to me. When I say 'Trek' I mean whoever the contract/LOI is with. I never said there was definitely something binding here. I just said if there was, I could understand why TWR would try to fight it. They are trying to run a business too.
  • + 2
 But, they aren't the same people... I think a lot of people are missing that... I suspect the main issue TWR has with Gwin leaving isn't so much that he is leaving, but I suspect TWR has been using that letter of intent to leverage more money from team sponsors. And now with Gwin gone, the value of those contracts that haven't been signed just dropped by a good chunk. And any that have been signed have probably got Martin in some hot water with those people that were expecting Gwin to be part of the program.. I am guessing no pay raise for Martin this year... He blew it by not getting Gwin signed first..
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  • + 5
 Is an engagement ring like a letter of intent?Smile I intended to marry this girl but then I found out she was crazy and I backed out. Un professional yes and who cares...
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  • + 2
 Silly Season at last! I'd love to see that LOI. Language is everything! If Gwinn has a lawyer, he may feel the language of the LOI is indeed NOT legally binding. Let's hope Gwinn wasn't so stupid as to not pay attention to this kind of thing.
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  • + 2
 This speaks poorly of his loyalty. From now on any sponsor will now be skeptical of Gwin's commitment to anything but money. Luckily he's still #1 and there aren't many companies who could outbid Specialized. It's all downhill from here.
  • + 9
 Loyalty!? Dude, this is business, nothing more, nothing else. TWR's goals are to have a winning team in order to increase sales of there sponsors products. AG is is a pro rider with a short shelf life who needs to optimize his earnings while he can. Both entities know the game and play accordingly. There is no loyalty in business or racing - it just acts to box either entity in. Trust me, if Gwin had a couple of bad seasons, TRW would drop him.
  • + 3
 @bliss
-just ask the man he's replacing right?
Sorry but loyalty and mutual respect do have a place in a professional athletes career. How can you expect to be taken seriously when endorsing a brand if you've shown yourself to be easily bought. Why bother trying to keep a staght face while telling everyone you dig your sponsors bike, just say "yeh these guys are paying me a lot of beans so buy their stuff please".
Sure It's about making a living but this could have been handled to better effect.
  • + 3
 Sam Hill left Specialized after Specialized stuck with him through injuries, not the other way around. Good for Sam and good for Specialized for handling it well (granted, contracts were up). Loyalty and professional sports has not existed for a *very* long time. Money is the driving motive for brands, teams, and athletes. (Just ask all the pro athletes who have contracts then are "released" from their teams when hit with injuries). AG signed a LOI, then decided to go with a better deal after the Fall craziness with Trek. Good for him in getting a presumably better deal while he's winning. That's all part and parcel in business and sports

As for athletes or any celebrity endorsements of products, I don't and never have taken any endorsement seriously. They're getting paid, so they say what they are contractually obligated to say. In AG's case, he probably does think the Session9.9 is a great bike (it is), but he probably feels the same way about the Demo 8 or he wouldn't have made the move. I buy products because of price, performance, durability, ID, and whether "I" like the product or not. I could care less what a paid spokesman says about the product - nothing more than advertising.
  • + 2
 @Bliss - I totally agree with you and see why he would do this. But what about after the spotlight? Look at some of the long-time riders still enjoying some kind of pro status after their career highs (Wade Simmons as a great example).

Funny how if a company dumps an injured rider they're seen as terrible but if a rider jumps ship for more money he's just playing the game.
  • + 1
 Why shouldn't we expect that a professionals opinion counts for something more than what they are getting paid. I would suggest that perhaps the reason you don't give weight to their endorsements is because of this kind of stunt and the accumulative effects.

There would be no point from a business perspective, to use indorsments if they didn't work btw. Consider yourself an exception i guess, although I doubt you've never supported a company based on how much you like them. Everyone has an opinion on this rider or that rider (or company) regardless of how informed it is and loyalty/respect do factor in.

Obviously there are two sides to the story and the guy could be justified, but he failed to present himself professionally.
  • + 0
 Hey alexsin - I hear you and agree the double standard is silly. It's a biz decision between the parties - neither is terrible. Long term AG is big enough that he should have an industry gig after DH. As an aside, totally brilliant move if AG did, indeed, structure his Specilized deal such that he's only obligated to run their frames and tires. Means he keeps his current cache of sponsors happy, which is who one needs to keep in good graces for the long term. May also mean he gets a better deal with Fox, Shimano, etc. since the deals would be with him vs with the team.
  • + 1
 Silocycle - an endorsement from a paid spokesman is not a professional opinion, it's a scripted advertisement. And yes, I am fully aware of it's effectiveness. Marketing 101 - get an emotional connection with consumers. Riders that folks like/relate to provide one such connection, hence the effectiveness on some. I don't give weight to endorsements because I understand the techniques being used are disingenuous at best, fraud at worst not because of "stunts."
  • + 2
 You missed the point. Good business includes loyalty, and mutual respect to create a strong brand. You accept that an athlete can be disingenuous and even fraudulent for the sake of a buck. Congratulations, you are the winner.
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  • + 2
 Legal?
Probably.

Unprofessional?
Yes.

Dick move?
Abso-fawkin-lutely.

He led them to believe he was coming back and then jumped at the last second. Left them in a real bind; without a true #1 rider and team leader.
Along with his riding, he's always been known as a stand up, high character guy. This move will definitely damage that reputation and how he's viewed by a lot of people, myself included.
  • + 3
 He was talking to one potential employer and someone else came in with a better offer. He probably gave TWR a chance to meet or beat the offer and they couldn't do it.. How is that unprofessional? That's the game... I bet every unsigned top rider put their negotiations on hold as soon Sam's spot opened up..
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  • + 3
 It would be interesting to see Gwins point of view, maybe trek wasnt giving the support he wanted and spesh was? who knows but id still like to see his side, theres always to sides to everything.. :/
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  • + 2
 Specialized and Trek are just loving all of this attention right now! They eat and sleep dollar signs that are rolling in from this!! My thought is that DH is really going downhill if this what 2013 holds for the future! It's not about cycling anymore.....I wish it were.
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  • + 2
 The biggest question is: when will pinkbikers stop commenting about whether or not a letter of intent is a legally binding document in this thread??? theres about 80 of you who have arm-chaired this and about another 200 responding to those 80 posts. it's fukking annoying.
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  • + 3
 I reckon they (Trek and Gwin) should pick the best fighters and let them sort it out in an online Angry Birds tournament.



Ooh- and forget the lawyers... Love is in the air!
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  • + 2
 Gwin has always seemed like a real gent in victory or defeat. This is obviously only the side of him you see in the public eye but if this is a true representation of his character then I doubt the move was meant to purposefully screw over Trek. There's obviously a lot more to come from both sides. Team Rumours knew about this a while ago so it can't have been that spur of the moment and a shock to Trek. Anyway, 2013 is going to be an awesome season by the look of it. Shame it's so short!
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  • + 2
 Not sure if this so called letter of intent is binding or not. Depends on the jurisdiction of the Parties, presumably the U.S. and what was actually put in it. It may be that failure to not proceed with the contract may invoke a clause that Trek be compensated for their loss for a sum that may or may not be in the letter of intent. No doubt that would be paid for by Specialized not Gwin. I think Specialized would be well aware of what they are doing and know the risks. I doubt he could be banned from racing for another team and that could be seen as a restraint of trade in the jurisdiction (though is so maybe only racing in that particular country)

If a huge brand like Trek and Specialized stand to make huge sums from selling bikes off the back of having the top man riding for you then you do pull out all the stops to land him! Despite it being unjust Trek need to deal with this behind the scenes instead of showing any bitterness to the public. Gwin leaving them is damaging, being bitter about it, even more so.
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  • + 2
 Its disappointing that Gwin left Trek, they seemed like a perfect fit.I dont know the whole story but i will still cheer him on from the seat of my session 88,ex8,ex 9 or the madone.Trek makes great bikes and builds amazing athletes and treats their customers right.So lets see what 2013 holds,its going to be a exciting year Gwin off the session kind of evens the playing field and Sams going to be on fire.Cant wait
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  • + 2
 dumbasses this is a contract, they have to call it a letter of intent as unforeseen circumstances such as injuries can mean his intent to race cannot possibly be achived, its all mumbo jumbo but basically because it is "legally binding" he is by law bound to follow the agreeement and therefore is liable to have the pants sued off him when proven guilty, why are so many top sportsmen thick as -- mostly directed towards a certain game played with sperical containers of compressed air and your feet but the point applies
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  • + 2
 Just leave the man alone already. Trek just wants to have Gwin, because they have a legacy with him now. And because he left, they are now going too far in my opinion. Just let the man ride his bike and be happy. All of this pressure cannot be good right now, and it could lead to some struggle down the road. Riders move on, its just part of the sport. You can't keep someone forever. And another thing, Whiteley tried to get Minnaar to break his contract with Santa Cruz to ride with Trek a few years back, and it didn't work! Now it's backfiring and they are going into desperation. They need to get over it.
  • + 0
 We don't know the full story yet though
but i do agree, and if its true that he's not legally bound, then shouldn't he be allowed to the right to do what he wants? he's not property he's a dude making a living.
it does sound like trek is throwing their toys out the pram so to speak...
looking forward to this years season, i wish all the riders the best and for some exciting racing..
  • + 1
 Anyone able to direct me to something about Whitely's attempt to poach Minnaar?
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  • + 2
 Shame on 23 Degrees for writing this article. This is nothing more than a pissing match with a rider who made a decision they didn't like. Let the courts and lawyers piss and fight over the legal matters, but why drag a rider's name in the mud in a public forum without sharing all the facts?

I can't help but shake my head at all of you who got hard-ons for anything with the name Trek on it a few months ago just because Gwin was riding it, and now everyone is so quick to jump on the hate train because he left a team. If you want to talk about loyalty, how about standing behind the rider that you cheered for all year?
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  • + 1
 Wow! There are a lot of lawyers on PinkBike!
At first, I was disappointed, but now I'm only curioius as to what has really been taking place. Racers want to win races, which Gwin obviously did under Trek. He must have very good reasons for the switch. (Also, this is me hoping that it's not just a tool move on his part.)
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  • + 1
 College recruits sign letters of intent all the time and then switch teams at the last minute, Gwinn did nothing wrong, but since we never see this side of the industry being that MTB is still in its infant stages everyone is freaking out, but this is very normal, no wrong done here by Spesh, Gwinn or anyone, strickly business, but if his move translates into WIN's is yet to be seen, Hills big move to Spesh didn't produce any wins and look at where he is now. Let's hope history does not repeast itself
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  • + 1
 Troy is gonna get even better following that dude down training runs. Gwin probably bailed on Trek cause of the Armstrong B.S. and being affiliated with a company that didn't blow the whistle but opted to sell a TON of bikes instead. oh yeah, and a grip of money.
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  • + 1
 I think we should think about Gwin and his talent. If you were the fastest pro DH rider in the world, you would want the best brand. He can't be the best forever so let him chose what he wants to do. I think Trek is being selfish. I'm not saying what Gwin did was right, I'm just saying that he should get a eight to take advantage of this talent that he has for a limited time.
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  • + 1
 The title seems rather biased and inaccurate to me. He hadn't signed a contract so how could he breach it? It could certainly be considered bad form to bail like he did but he was free to do so. I hope that once it is all cleared up there is no animosity between any of the parties. 2 cents
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  • + 1
 This is all very much like Specialized. With a few exceptions they tend to buy riders at the height of their career. Sam Hill, Alberto Contador, Tom Boonen, Christoph Sauser, Mark Cavendish.... They do develope riders but it seems like they pay them off more often. Heck, Alberto Contador has a sponsorship that makes it so that he HAS to ride Specialized, meaning if he switches teams the new team has to dump their old bike brand and pick up Specialized if they want Bert riding for them.
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  • + 1
 www.twitlonger.com/show/kl8jle lets wait until we hear Gwins side of the story. Maybe he wanted something out of the program TWR didnt provide it so he left. I have met Gwin in person, he is very nice, I dont sell Spec or Trek in my store but i have nothing but respect for Gwin and will at least wait to hear his part of the story before jumping on the Gwin is a dirtbag bandwagon.
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  • + 1
 The reason could be anything, and maybe it's not money - Gwin is very religious...someone in the team is homosexual! As often as he thanked God for being helpful, if not holding him responsible for his wins, I could imagine something like that being incompatible with his believes...

Totally not a gay hater, but I've been living with religious psychotics (not saying Gwin is one of them) in the past...
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  • + 1
 Martin Whiteley: Sounds like he has been plaid at his own game, and for once he is on the losing side! Now nobody likes losing but if you thrive on your own ego, I’m guessing it can leave you feeling a little bitter and twisted; Which putting out a press release, in an attempt to muddy the reputation of; the most sort after rider currently piloting a DH bike… certainly looks like playground politics to me. Also a tad unprofessional as there will be two side to the story. At the end of the day; said Mr Gwin is only doing his day job, if the big S has offered him a better package, he has rightly taken the opportunity… if TWR had valued him that much they should have tied up an early deal (school boy error).
Instead of threating his Ex rider with legal action, he should put his money where his mouth is. Pick up a fast unknown and put him on the podium…. Instead of bleating about how TRW have been wronged. Good Luck to AG
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  • + 1
 Everyone's quick to jump on bored trek. Anyone heard Gwins side. Just looking outside the box here but for his agent to help pull him out sounds like trek maybe breaching the contract?... Its often the case now they have him tied for 3 seasons. Odd don't you think? Just to up and leave
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  • + 5
 Ide still buy a trek over a specialized any day.
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  • + 3
 this is exactly what the sport needs....some anger and rivalries to make the racing even that much more intense....I think this is great for the sport
  • + 2
 I was gonna post exactly the same thing. All this means is the sport is gaining more momemtum. Contracts, rumor factories, hype and drama are a testiment to the fact that companies have big bucks to spend to get their product on primo athletes. To make big bucks you gotta sell the product and see the value in reinvesting your profits back into marketing. In a nutshell "WE ARE (G)WINNING AS A SPORT" and for the vast majority (who aren't getting 6 figures to ride bikes) it means more trails, more parks, better equipment.... and time wasting forums like this.
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  • + 1
 So much drama! This should be exciting to watch I think. Either way, I still have respect for Gwin. It wasn't a full contact, so i don't see why Trek is making a big deal about it. At least Specialized made an effort in supporting Hill when he left.....or got let go lol We'll need to hear Gwins side of the story before we all start shaming him. Excitement is a brewin!
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  • + 1
 I can only imagine the price Specialized paid for Gwin, and probably agreeing to pay all legal fees and drag this case in court out longer than the whole world cup season. Just think, the controversy, the constant battle between Specialized and Trek on all racing fronts, it only gains more press and following amongst the public..at the end of the day leads to more people visiting their websites and possibly purchasing their bikes. That contract Gwin signed has to have lots of dollar signs to be promoted as aggressively as it has been.
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  • + 1
 Im sure specialized threw gwin a retared amount of money that he couldn't pass up. And offered to get him outta a deal and pay for it. It's only a letter of intent nothing major there are mostly used by agents to negotiate contracts. Nothing is binding till there is a contract signed. As already stated gwin has a shelf life and he needs to take care of himself financially while he can . He's a good guy and awesome rider. But remember riding is his business and business is about making money . Trek will survive..why Cause they will offer another guy a retared amount of money to do what gwin just did. And that rider will except cause its all about money Realities are all the top bikes are that good now that in a rider of gwins caliber it doesn't matter what name is one the frame Trek and specialized have been at war for years on the road side and in mtb This is just fuel on the fire No company is gonna drop gwin cause he made this move and if they did I'm sure 50 other companies would come running with gear and checks in hand to sponsor him . Being a world champ has its perks Bottom line High risk sport Short career Maximize profit while you are worth it Fuck what everyone on the Internet has to say and look out for number one Cause when you can't ride and win no more the companies don't give a fuck what happens to you
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  • + 5
 I dont think TREK will make a nice farewell video for Gwin.
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  • + 1
 1. Jesus h f****** Christ stop making references to Lance Armstrong. It is physically impossible to win top level road races without a lil help and everyone should have known.
2. There was no contract so stop being butthurt
3. Drama is for the lycra crowd....
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  • + 1
 Looking at the 23 degrees site, I was surprised to see that they manage TWR as well as individual racers that are on other teams (Greg Minnar, Brook MacDonald and Sam Blenkinsop). This may explain their attempts to get Minnar as described by others in this thread. Seems a little weird to me that they do both (like an NFL General Manager being a player agent as well). Does anyone know if they represented Gwin as an individual?

I would think that the individual representation is where they pull in most of their fees (management fee and other sponsorships) and what is more upsetting to them than which team he is riding on. It'll be interesting to get the whole story.

www.23degrees-sports.com/athlete_management.php
  • + 1
 i think aaron is managed by one of the Houseman brothers(old school american dh racing family/ one of the brothers won a wc at grouse mt vancouver). Martin Whitely has been a lynchpin/kingpin in dh racing for a long time. He is 23degrees/TWR. He had the legendary Global Racing team( Greg Minaar(greg won his first wc overall on this team), Mick Hannah, Andrew Neethling, Matti Lehekonen? Missy Giove and a bunch of other riders) and the Honda Racing Team(gear box bike). He worked for the UCI at one point as well.
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  • + 1
 Gwin is a bitch to leave his contract with trek have some honor !so specialized is dumb for signing someone who can't hold there contract he will prob leave specialized early too. Waste of bike space I hope hill whoops his ass in World Cup on a nuke!
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  • + 1
 Take the Money and Gwin !!!! the new S-WORKS will be rebadged G-WORKS .Happy to see the whole scenery shaking by the new deal ... I know to be faithfull is loyal , but to change of team is , professionaly speaking , a competition , !!! if you are offer the cash and proove the win , that s fine , it s legal daytime robbery. run to the next bank now , ....and repeat !!
keep everybody on their edge, !!! Wink anyway my comment is rubbish and trek won t care about it .
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  • + 1
 This is mountain biking peaty lopes minnar etc have all switched teams throughout there careers its called a career for a reason and moving up the ladder nd in different directions other wise it would be boring. Good luck to every 1 who makes a move in life and has big balls to do so roll on the 2013 season it's gona be wild.
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  • + 1
 Probably but I still think we'll see him on a specialized next year anyway now that he's made it clear he no longer wants to be with Trek. It would be a bad move for Trek to take legal acion and make him come back to the team as there would be a lot of tension and the team wouldn't work well together maybe effecting his performance. It was unfair of him to up and switch teams if he was legally bound though because now its going to put a lot of pressure on people in specialized and trek to try and sort things out. Anyway Good luck Gwin.
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  • + 1
 Not that I really care either way (I just like watching downhill races) but this will also be interesting to watch unfold, purely as a legal drama.

As of yet though, none of us know jack shit. Contract law is complicated and none of us know what contracts were signed, nor the exact wording of those contracts.
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  • + 1
 Well Ill be ohnest I dont feel bad for either. trek had to have done something other then having a doaper roadie to have made Gwinn leave. And hey look at it this way. Spez has been in the dh racing scene longer then Trek. but yeah he should have gave them a better notice.
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  • + 1
 Glad to see Specialized decided to keep Mitch on the WorldCup circuit, he deserves the opportunity. To create drama at the races, promoters will assign Specialized pits next to TWR pits. Curious what will happen to the ODI, Trek satellite team headed up by Rich Houseman, with some involvement from Gwin. Also will Gwin will get a new mechanic or if he'll take Moose with him.
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  • + 1
 Being that this is not a new move to poach another teams riders, I'm sure specialized knows they are going to have to pay to play this game. The price to buy out gwin and cover the cost of whatever litigation is small potatoes compared to whats really at stake. At the end of the day trek and specialized sell bikes the riders are ultimately marketing tools to sell more bikes.
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  • + 1
 No he didn't do anything legally wrong. Ethically... that's questionable and up for interpretation but legally... no. Specialized must have offered him a lot more money than than Trek was and pumped him full of that we love you feeling. Trek has a lot of that... we make you winner. We're the best kind of thing. It's not uncommon for riders or pros in other sports to do this. Get training and support from one place and when they're on a high take a huge offer from someone else. Hopefully he doesn't do what a lot of others do... start dropping off.
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  • + 1
 None of this will matter and no one will remember a thing if gwin continues to post up results like he has in the past. Just like the college kid who commits to a school and changes his mind, its bad press in the offseason and as soon as there is real news to report everyone stops talking about it
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  • + 1
 these people need to cheel, they commercialize the sport and make it boring as shit, if he wants to race for specialized there is no problem no matter what contract he has signed. there should be a mutual respect between teams and riders that if someone is not happy with their decision they are free to leave. He has brought you two world cup overalls so let him off you utter cretins
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  • + 2
 Why can't we just CLONE GWIN??? Seriously with the Millions of dollars being thrown around by Spesh and Trek to get a top rider, why not just clone the guy and they both have a copy? Problem solved. Battle of the Gwins!
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  • + 5
 Let's all repeat ourselves over and over
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  • + 1
 U can't say what's going on. Even if he had a contract, there is always possibility to leave. He might pay some fine, more Spesh will pay it and there's nothing wrong about it. Nobody can't make you to do something u don't like. I believe that he knows what he wnats and it's just ok that he goes for it...
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  • + 5
 not the "christian" thing to do Aaron lol.
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  • + 5
 Trek want Gwin back i guess Razz
  • + 27
 i guess so but why would you want someone that doesn't want to ride for you?
  • + 3
 My thoughts exactly, TWR you should worry about finding yourself a replacement, Gwinny is a lost cause Martin.
  • + 1
 As if they would do this to probs the best DH rider in the world like it's just not right.
  • + 4
 He's obviously not going back to Trek - the "legal action" mentioned will be for compensation for the breach (of the letter of intent, not a contract since he didn't sign one).
  • + 1
 He signed a letter of intent, not a contract. Even if he had breached a contract I can't imagine him being forced to stay with the team (has that ever happened in any sport?). He, or Specialized rather, would simply have to splash out even more money.

It does say "contract renewal" in that article but they must have got it wrong because since being confirmed at Specialized a "letter of intent" is all that has been mentioned AFAIK.
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  • + 1
 letters of intent are not binding, Any lawyer will agree. Letters of intent are often called confort letters and are not binding. However, depending on the text of of the letter, gwin could be held responsible due to detrimental reliance. While Gwin moving to specialized might not be the most ethical thing to do...he's looking out for his own and I HIGHLY doubt that he will be held responsible for the supposed breach to TWR..
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  • + 2
 I heard he snapped four demo? not certain, so don't take that as fact! haha, nah, i'm happy for him, always found him quite boring whilst with trek. Wonder if monk will come with him....
  • + 1
 good call on monk..wonder if he's signed with trek or gwin
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  • + 4
 Who gives a damn?
Just get out and ride :-)
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  • + 3
 don't worry, Batman will figure it out, in fact it appears he is on scene already.
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  • + 3
 lets see how he does on the Demo Smile im a believer that he will still dominate regardless of what bike he is on.
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  • + 1
 No he didn't, get over it, case closed. Lets all ride our bikes and forget about it. As long as Gwin stays riding why should it matter, we support the riders, not the capitalist companies who sell us our products.
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  • + 1
 Good for Gwin. Do what makes you happy- you are only in control of you and no one else. And thus no one else can control you. Do what feels right, always, and you will all ways, feel right.
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  • + 1
 it shouldn't matter what team gwin is on just as long as he gets to shred! I cant wait for this season to start with all the changes. Ive gotten to ride with Mitch in UT and I hope that Mitch and gwin tear it up this year!
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  • + 4
 Who cares Stevie Smith is going to win next anyways!!
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  • + 4
 Who cares? Let him ride, that the only thing that matters.
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  • + 0
 kinda disappointed, if you sign a legal contract saying your going to do something do it! this discredits professionalism and integrity entirely in my eyes. I just hope the public gets all the facts on this one. not that we need to know every detail. I just want race season to start. I don't care who Gwin is riding for
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  • + 0
 A letter of intent is not a contactual obligation. It's in very simple terms an agreement to consider an agreement and is very difficult to enforce. A contract is a "meeting of minds" and it often happens that people sign letters of intent to sign a contract but when reading the contract don't agree with the terms and are not obligated to sign it. That is even if they have made a letter of intent.
  • - 1
 Are you gonna be like that idiot in the last story who repeats the exact same message over and over and gets negative propped out of existence ?
  • + 1
 @k33martin: You're right for the most part. However, it's really going to depend on the language of the letter.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The way I see it, Sam Hill leaves Specialized and Gwin sees an opportunity to "replace" the Legend Himself...arrogance at it's finest in my opinion.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Letters Of Intent CAN be legally binding and used in place of a contract, depending on circumstances - which of course will be determiend by a court.

Ref: www.steeleslaw.co.uk/news-item.aspx?id=2724b1bb-17b3-4609-9857-818897cc64b4
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I honestly don't care. i'd rather just see more championships for my country in the worldcup.
  • + 1
 Not to mention a round in Aus and a round in NZ.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Letters of intent usually are worth about as much as the paper they are printed on. Also, look at how many professional sports contracts are voided each year, and not just in the NFL.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Shoot, if I was in Gwin's 510's I would have done the same thing. I dont love Specialized or own one of their bikes but as a downhill team they are able to provide everything a rider needs and then some.
  • - 2
 I'm no lawyer, but is a 'Letter of Intent' the same as a contract?

If so, Gwin is still under contract.........If not, he traded up to a Demo.
  • + 1
 And TWR doesn't???
  • + 1
 Yeah alot of speculation going on. Of course Trek is bitter. Gwin is the best thing that ever happened to their DH racing program. Period. Huge loss. Im sure we will get to hear Gwin's side of it. Specialized obviously made an offer he could not refuse. Nobody should judge him for that. At least not yet.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 It's not about the money, money, money... Oh wait, yes it is
[Reply]
  • + 1
 From all the races we seen how humble of a man he is. It's all part of the sport. I have same ammounts of respect for Gwinn regardless. He didn't breach a contract it happens in sports and racing all the time.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Nukeproofs just went on clearence! The demo just went up $1000!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Throw Semenuk on the team XD
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Couldn't give 2 F's about the legal shite. Politics spoils everything. All the best Gwinny, keep it pinned.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Gwins allowed to make his own descions.... 1) As much as I hate the free market, this is the free market. If he's unhappy with anything or thinks he can make more money somewhere else, that's his decision. 2) He's an adult. 3) He's the best downhill mountain biker... in the Entire World. For the sake of his career and his own person autonomey, he should be allowed to join whichever downhill mountain bike team he feels to be the most promotive to his success. 4) There is no number four.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I'm furious with Trek world racing. If specialized offered him a better deal then he had every right to move on. I'm glad Gwin is moving on because if the guys at TWR are going to be complete dicks about this then they didn't deserve Gwin in the first place. They should be thankful they got 2 good years with him but they shouldn't be trashing him. All in all I think specialized will be a better fit for him in the upcoming season and I can't wait to see him do just as well if not better.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 All a bit different to the statement Trek made when they signed Gwin about him being the "...Consummate Professional...". All makes for interesting stuff for us watching from the outside! Smile
[Reply]
  • + 0
 And here we go again...

Aaron Gwin's words:

"Aaron Gwin says, “I did not breach any contract”

I'm writing this public note to hopefully shed a little light on what's actually going on with my move to Specialized.

Reports that I broke my contract with 23 Degrees/Trek World Racing are false.  My contract expired.  The one-page letter of intent I signed said there would be a “full length contract” with “precise terms” coming in the future.  The 16-page contract that showed up in late November was not signed by me because it was not the deal we had made. I have moved on to a team that gave me the contract I wanted, and these are the facts.

The press reports are inaccurate, unfair, and one-sided. Because 23 Degrees has hired lawyers and threatened to sue me, my lawyers have told me not to say anything for now.

While riding for Trek, I lived up to my contract and gave them my 100% effort and full commitment.  I intend on doing the same for Specialized.

As for now, I want to let my fans know that my offseason training has been going great. I love my new bikes and I'm more excited to race this year than I ever have been. Big thanks to the Specialized family for such an amazing opportunity and support.

I hope everyone understands that I cannot talk any further about this at this time, but I felt like I needed to clear the air a bit, without getting too much into the legal stuff.

Thanks to all the fans who have stood behind me.

AG"

in aarongwin.hookit.com

CASE CLOSED.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Who cares, he ain't Sam Hill, he is just a fast yank Smile
[Reply]
  • + 0
 i dont want to seem a bit of a dick but Trek seam abit up there self " The team has a history of helping riders win who had not previously won, including Aaron Gwin." The team helps provent things but at the end of the day its the rider tht dous it
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Well for any one thinking that Trek was better then Specialized....I would say Gwin just proved that Specialized is BETTER....Guess he thought the Demo was a way better bike, and also guessing his new salary is way better. Kudos to Specialized! See ya Trek!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I don't really care about this legal stuff, he moved to spesh so trek will just have to deal with it.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 If Gwin does ride for specialized this year and dominates some races like he has the past two years, it will cement his name properly as the best right now. I don't see this as his reasoning, but would like to see if he can smash the competition on different bikes. Plus, a letter of intent doesnt sound very legally binding, to be honest. Lets look forward to reading what Aaron has to say about it soon.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Mr Gwin informed the team that he was abandoning TWR in total disregard of his contractual obligations." Don't you have to sign a contract to break contractual obligations Mr Whiteley?
  • + 2
 A contract is defined merely as a legally binding agreement. You can have a verbal contract and in some instances even a contract that is implied by your actions. Thus, an executed Letter of Intent fits the definition of a contract. However, the bigger question is what the LOI required of the parties and whether the parties met those requirements. A LOI can require as little as negotiating a final contract in good faith or something much more specific. Without knowing the text of the LOI and the actions of the actors in this this soap opera, we don't know whether there has been a breach of contract. Having said that, I doubt that Gwin was playing entirely fair given the existence of a LOI.
  • + 1
 Fair enough, in other industries LOI come before proper contracts, even if the LOI is some form of contract. I doubt gwin would have done this without his and Specialized's legal teams looking over it
  • + 1
 Yeah, LOIs can mean very little or something depending on the content and whether they are executed by both parties or whether one party received consideration. There are just a lot of variables that are impossible to know without the agreement and the actions of the parties. Frankly I don't have a clue whether Trek would have a claim or not, but I could imagine scenarios where Trek might. Frankly, I am a bit old school and really believe a man's as good as his word and I would certainly not do business with someone that renegged on an LOI.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 way too many people with opinions who actually know about 1% of what transpired between the parties involved. It's actually funny though to see how many people have become instant lawyers with their own versions of what the contract/letter of intent all mean with 0% knowledge of any of those deatils.......thanks for the laugh though and I hope Gwin has a great season, albeit he will be chasing Stevie Smith this year........just say'in eh
[Reply]
  • + 1
 letter of intent...like signing a letter intent is a contract. get real. trek, pay someone else more money and move on. no contract, no boom boom! me love you long time, but no contract, no boom boom!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 the only thing gwin's signed over was his soul to the devil...in return for mad skills and a bucket full of dollars !.....and why the f@%k not...?....?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i thought this was interesting... sounds like LOIs can be legally binding or not, depending on language used. be interesting to see the actual contract.
www.weirfoulds.com/letters-of-intent-the-good-and-the-bad
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Who cares if Gwin broke his contract. Good lawyers can relieve anyone of any contract requirements and stipulations - all it takes is money and time. This is simply a case of new territory being tread on by the DH side of cycling and not covering all their bases. I'm willing to bet that even if a contract was broken, there were opt-out clauses of some sort written in. This sort of stuff happens every single day in other big dollar sports. Why is everyone acting like this is some sort of earth-shattering news?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 What I don't understand is why he would leave trek and go to specialized. In my opinion, I think that trek make some of the worlds nicest bikes.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 The stupidity in some of these posts is just TOO damn high. It's Gwins career, not yours.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 next news is that steve peat will be riding a mechanically operated egg called garry, you heard it here, with the way things are going down at the moment it cant be far from true!!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 shitstorm on pinkbike?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Can I just say. Frame and Tyres. Folk dont seem to notice. I say good luck to him. Its a big move that he knew would be contravertial. You only do that for strong reasons, which are likely none of our business.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 what a douche move by Gwinn. Hope hes not like a cheating girl. Once a cheat always a cheat... Look out specialized he could screw you over too.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I'm no lawyer but a LOI is very different from a signed Contract. Everyone needs to stop speculating and wait for Gwins side of the story to come out. At that point you can start your childish mudslinging lol
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I heard that Brook Macdonald is going to trek is that true??
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Gwin just pulled a Lebron James; left Trek hanging but life goes on
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Less legal shit, more cowbell!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Every rider who has been on our Downhill program has had the best years of their career with us"
thats a pretty bold statement on treks part.....
  • + 1
 But pretty true so far... Look at Neko, Leov, Mosely, and Gwin himself.
  • + 1
 Yes true, but there basically saying Feinstein gunna suck next year and the reason he was so good was because of them!
  • + 1
 Nah, I think you're analyzing that too much. He isn't saying anyone is going to suck because they're not with them. He's simply stating that they have an excellent race team and have helped many top riders have the best season's of their careers.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Here you guys guys and gals, a recent tweet from Aaron Gwin himself:
www.twitlonger.com/show/kl8jle
  • + 1
 I think he needs to change his Twitter photo out of himself. Bit behind the 8 ball if you don't cover everything off before you go public!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Lol contract haha. Professional rebel! I love it! Go on gwinn... All this bollox takes the fun out of riding... Makes it good to read tho.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Everyone please calm down. Same guy, different bike, good old capitalism.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 all this BS makes the upcoming EWS even better!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "No single rider is bigger than the team as a whole"...Dude. TWR just lost it's poster child and top racer! He IS the biggest racer on the team...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Pfft, if he was racing like crap they would have cut him... You will only "gwin" for so long might as well make as much money as you can!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 basically Gwin does whatever the hell he wants and knows he can still win....only now a different team can experience the fastest current rider
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Everyone here would take the cash and make moves to suit themselves just like Gwin did.............."Don't hate the player......................"!
  • + 1
 Keep your money and ill keep my morals and ethics.
  • + 2
 Morals and ethics don't apply in this situation. There is no obligation with a letter of intent. He got an offer that suited him better. Nothing wrong with having choices. Maybe Trek is being unprofessional and unethical by bad mouthing Gwin. There is always 2 sides to every story, I am simply trying to be open minded.
  • + 1
 Youre right. Lets let both sides air their dirty laundry then decide. I think its upset the rotation of the universe and everyone has acted hastily. Myself included. Apologies
  • + 1
 WOW! On the other hand, this debocle has brought what would normally have been a nowhere, never ending, nonsensacle, good ol' internet arguement to a screetching hault! Hahahahaha No worries bro! This year of racing should be a good one though!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i don't give a shit about what he decides to do with his career, nobody owns Gwin except Gwin. GO SYNDICATE GWIN!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The bottom line is none of you know what really went down so opinions are worthless. You aren't in Aaron's shoes so quit making judgements.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 So if he sucks on the Specialized then the Trek's are better. Take it for what it's worth.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 so gwin is realy moving out from trek? ...Im taking my talents to specialzed......(like how he should have done it when lebron james opt out from the cavs) hahahhahaha
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Regardless of what the LOI says, Gwinn will be riding for Specialized in the upcoming season and the only thing TWR can possibly get out of this is monetary compensation.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Here are the facts:
1. Trek and Gwin would not have come out in August with the statements they made if there was not real intent, as Trek would use the Gwin 'contract' to sign up Fox, Shimano etc .Gotta believe Trek on this one.
2. Gwin is meant to be a guy with faith ..too right ...his new god is Mr Green..twat...all that crap he spoused about the Lord...his lord is good ol Abe Lincoln.He's just like the rest of us - but a frickin hypocrit as well ...unless he's going to donate the extra wedge he earns to build a water plant in the 3rd world (no not Canada...England)
3. Specialised are the most hated brand on the market...just one big shrine to greed ...welcome home Aaron'money grabbing, no scruples' Gwin.
4. It would crack me up if Trek signed some guy and whipped the evangelist's ass.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I quite like Gwin and will for a while and I love Trek, but I think Gwin should have stayed with his commitment and raced on the TWR team till his contract was done.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Well this is a MUCH different send off from trek to Gwin then spesh gave to Hill
[Reply]
  • + 3
 This whole Specialized vs Trek is like Apple vs Samsung, just saying.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 now the POD background "great athletes ride TREK", with Gwin smiling from one side while riding his Session on the other, just looks a bit inappropriate, lol
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Let Jesus judge him
  • + 1
 hahahahaahhaahahahahhahahaha Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Trek needs to let it go - Ok, maybe they can get some monetary compensation. But Gwin is gone. He'll avoid the Trek tent now like the plague!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Where is jerry maguire when you need him? He's THE man when it comes to letters of intent and "my handshake is my bond" @aarongwin1
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Wow I didn't know there were so many lawyers on pinkbike
  • + 2
 They're the only ones who can afford to ride all the new stuff Trek and Big S put out these days.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Keep the damn lawyers out of mountain biking! It's the last sport without some litigators getting involved over the slightest labor dispute, doping allegation, etc.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 No question about Gwin is insanely fast but no question about it he is the biggest tool in the world cup as father as riders!!!He he has a total crap year!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Maybe he felt the need to level the playing field a bit by riding a lesser bike... Hope to see the Bulldog smash it this season onboard the session!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Could be random but there's a chance trek pushed Aaron to following the same decisions lance made. I agree, there's much more than money going on here. Trek has money.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I find in funny how on the trek website they still have gwins name on there and on specialized they still have Sam Hill's
[Reply]
  • + 4
 "Mr Gwin"...ouch.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Also, this has nothing to do with Lance - these two riders are not even remotely of the same generation of cyclist, that and Trek denounced their support of Lance.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Haha, this is hilarious.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Face it, it all comes down to the pay cheque. You want to keep him.......show him the money!!! Otherwise someone else will.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Well, he always did come across as a wanker.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 mountain biking TMZ style! Jesus where will it end
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Fuck all this bullshit. Pink bike, please post up useful, bike related topics, not business shit. Like- tech Tuesdays or how it's made, etc..
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I do not care what team he riding for as long as he wins
[Reply]
  • + 3
 he moved teams who cares changes are good
[Reply]
  • - 1
 sounds plain simple to me: he had a contract for 3 years, he broke the contract without early notice to sign a contract that offers more (money) "support". Unless there are some aspects we dont know about (which is likely), Gwin just did an ignoble thing.
  • + 1
 but as I dont want to sound like I disapprove of his actions (because he probably does what he considers best for his career, through which the whole sport of DH could benefit), never mind my comment Smile
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Pretty dick move by Gwin, not the professional actions of a champ in my books
  • + 0
 Getting exactly what you want; the best: Very elitist and proffessional in my book. Gwin is both. That's what you get when you're the best: The best.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think in this article they are protraying Gwin pretty badly, Im sure if they interveiwed him we would see it in a diffrent light
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Letter of Intents resemble written contracts, but are usually not binding on the parties in their entirety" Hes done nothjng wrong
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out legally and once racing begins! Will we see some hockey style fights?!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I am more interested in how he performs aboard a Demo. It seems Sam didn't perform nearly as well aboard his Demo compared to his Sunday. Will be interesting to see if Aaron misses his Session.
  • + 1
 Then again, I guess they're pros and can rip on anything
[Reply]
  • - 1
 looks bad on gwins part not on twr's part who is going to seek out a rider that cant show any loyalty after signing with you... if it was me i wouldnt sign him now, trek should take him to court to keep him as part of the team and then "forget" to enter him into every important event, teach him a lesson just because youre a fast as hell rider doesnt mean youre above the rules
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Now someone might actually win some races on a Demo.
  • + 2
 2012 Women's world champ. Just saying
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Even if gwin had to ride for trek world racing again he wouldn't ride to the best of his ability as he wants to ride for specialized. So let it go trek.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 there is a picture of Aaron Gwins Demo 9.9 2013
fotos.mtb-news.de/p/1286212
[Reply]
  • + 1
 No way did Gwin breach contract. He had his lawyers and I'm sure they have looked at the Trek agreement and decided he was ok.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sure will be interesting to hear Gwin's take on things from the man himself. It would be good to hear the both sides.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Apparently no one over at Trek knows what/why the hell this happened. I'm stunned waking up to this today!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Tut tut Gwinny!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 And now the full truth comes out! In the end its all about the $$$$. This upcoming season is going to be intense!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Oh no, one rich guy "screwed" over another rich guy. I'll shed a tear while I'm eating ramen for the 4th straight night
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Specialized could go someone`s ass and deep in there and get stucked
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Can't believe a site like this has published info that should really be kept private and behind doors DISSAPOINTED IN PINKBIKE TODAY
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Maybe the bigger news here is Casey Brown signed with Norco?!
  • + 5
 HOLY S**T!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! This is shaping up to me a great upcoming season! This move is a definite game changer
  • + 1
 Team Norco just got a lot better looking with Casey on board.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Despite the fact that on August 9 of last year, Aaron Gwin signed a legally binding Letter Of Intent with our team for the next three seasons. - Is a letter of intent considered a breach of contract in the u.s?
  • + 4
 No, because a Letter of Intent is NOT a contract here in the U.S., when and if one is used, an LOI is merely a precursor to an actual contract that has some provisions laid out. But it is still just a Letter of INTENT, not a legally binding contract. So if Gwin did not sign an actual contract, and although he die sign a Letter of Intent, he did not breach a contract with TWR.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Gwin messed up !!!!! First time in years. Sad its all this serious to be honest!
  • + 4
 He messed up, and crashed into a pile of money.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's okay Gwin, we understand that you don't like riding Trek bikes. We're all looking forward seeing you on a proper bike!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Thats pretty bad in all honesty, I'm a Gwin fan myself and to be totally honest I find this a rather bit childish and i think he's let alot of his fans down.
  • + 6
 How in the world did he let his fans down? He signed a LOI, decided he had a better offer from Specialized, and made a decision that was best for his future. Big deal. He's a pro rider, that's what he does and we get to enjoy his performance; nothing more, nothing less.

TWR sends out an emotional press release that looks like it was written by a 13 year old drama queen and people eat it up and start bad mouthing AG. Did it occur to y'all that's probably what TWR wanted? They reeled y'all in.
  • - 10
 "y'all" stop talking like that you piece of shit.
  • + 5
 Benchurchy - grow up. Seriously, how is name calling going to do more than just make you look inarticulate and childish? Don't like my opinion, fine, then offer up a counter argument. I don't know you and you don't no me, so chill on the vulgarities.
  • + 1
 I wouldn't say they're being drama Queens, if (and that's a big 'if') the letter of intent was worded in a way that forbade gwin to speak to other teams regarding sponsorship, or obligated him to try to renegotiate with TWR before leaving, then they have every right to consider legal action. Even if not, from what's gone public, he doesn't seem to have dealt with this all in a professional way.

Strange though, as his contract hadn't actually been signed, you'd think that if he really was just after money then he would have laid his cards out and said to TWR 'look, spesh will pay me this, what can you offer?'.

However, it's all speculation. I'm sure there's much more to it. what we're seeing is the tip of the iceberg, it's probably a completely different story to those in the know.
  • + 4
 No need to be a prick. ^
  • + 2
 what? Gwin let his fan down? ... NO!
Gwin perhaps let Trek's fan down
  • + 1
 It's my way of looking at it, think about for a second he signs a 3 year contract with Trek in August 2012 and all of sudden he's suddenly on Specialized it's more of a let down I'm not blaming him for the move Its just how I feel about the suituation and to be honest I used a poor choice of words.
  • + 2
 no contract was signed. it was a letter of intent, btw the last comment was aimed at benchurchy
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Next year he will sign with Syndicate anyway...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 seems as if gwinny was being a bit of a prick
[Reply]
  • + 0
 you have no idea how much i want trek to sue gwin... if you sign on the dotted line you gotta follow the contract way to go smartass!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Alex Rodriguez, LeBron James, Aaron Gwin. One of these things is exactly like the other two.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Somthing tells me that this is guna get interesting! I'm guna be bummed if he goes to special-ed though!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This is just propaganda by trek (pinkbike sponsor) to try to give this guy a bad name.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Well Gwin just moved down a few notches in my books...
  • + 26
 He'll get over it
  • + 1
 LOL, I'm sure he will
  • + 7
 Anyone that gets bent over choices other people (that they don't even know) make in their lives is like barely 2 notches above the kids on Instagram who cut themselves and post pictures of it because Justin Bieber smokes pot.

On that note he never signed a legitimate "contract" but rather a "legally binding letter of intent," whatever the f*ck that means. No need to loose repect for the Legend himself.
  • + 2
 General-lee , very lol
[Reply]
  • + 2
 ....Sam hill to CRCnukeproof and now gwin to specialized WTF???????????
[Reply]
  • + 1
 better sell your treks and go back to the demos again ahaha I have both so im all good
[Reply]
  • + 2
 BLAH BLAH BLAH not even going to read this .
[Reply]
  • + 1
 its gotta be to late anyway, imagine him riding for them even though he doesn't want to, because of a contract.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think Trek should just give it up. They have a lot of other riders on there team! Maybe Gwin just wants a change in bikes.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 holy cow, i just gave positive props to Protour!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 this is too bad it always sucks when something happens that tarnishes the sport.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hey Trek I'll ride for you guys! I'm an up and coming rider who would like a championship.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 sue that fucker. Regardless of skill he's a deserter, deserters hold no place in this world to compete.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Geazerhead says and I quote "He has reached the end of his Trek and it is time to be more Specialized"
[Reply]
  • + 0
 maybe brandon semenuk will try out world cup racing? if i remember correctly he seed in a interview he wouldn't leave it out of the picture.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Any minute now Vince McMahon is going to step out from behind the curtain as the true evil genius in all of this.......
[Reply]
  • + 1
 WTF springs to mind.. Poor trek.. Don't worry il ride for you instead of nasty gwin.. Call me yeh
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Trek bicycles i am free now, want to ride for you=DDDD
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Specialized needed to replace samhill...I figured it would be Gwin...did not think it would be like this
[Reply]
  • + 1
 He tweeted saying there is more to the story then has been said. Fall out with trek?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Just lost all respect for Mr. Gwin. I am predicting he doesn't win the overall this year.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Shit happens, suck it up Trek. Legal action will only alienate you from your supporters.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great athlets ride TREK. Aaron Gwin / TWR
add is still there put it down pinkbike !
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Gwin took a Trek to become Special...Ed
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Gwin is going wear Troy Lee gear!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This is gonna drag on for so so long, do we really need this in our sport
[Reply]
  • + 2
 lol its looks like bat man standing in the back ground
[Reply]
  • + 2
 wow..now we need a lawyer to ride a bike...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I hope for Gwin that he is better under pressure because he will have a lot next season.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 this has just turned into what football news is like, get over it and let them sort it themselfs.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Shit has hit the fan for Gwin
  • + 1
 nope... shit has hit the fan for Trek,, Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 1
 this sports became like F1 and MotoGP, so many politics.. :p
[Reply]
  • - 3
 Aaron Gwin is the perfect embodiment of all I HATE about DH MTB. It's too bloody serious these days.... Multi million dollar contracts, talk of litigation blah blah. I'm glad I'm over the hill because although the equipment wasn't as advanced- people had more fun back in my day! Gone are the days of a beer after the race- now it's all recovery drinks and physio. I personally think DH racing is massively gay these days.
  • + 5
 Then dont read about it and ignore it. .
  • + 4
 hell yea they need to start having a beer after their races and stuff!
  • - 6
 every sport has controversity, i think hes been a bit of an ass, why sign a contract you have no intention of following attention seeking spanner if you ask me
  • + 6
 he signed a letter of intent. He didn't sign a contract...
  • + 1
 I got no problem with Gwyn leaving Trek. The Athertons left Commencal. It happens at the professional level all the time. Companies change out software usage, personnel, management and facilities all the time. Its a business decision. NOW....the day Ned Overend leaves Spesh and goes to Trek - whew watch out for that day.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Gwin swin... Hart will kick his ass sea bass!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Gwin will rule with specialized and trek are just super jealous!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Who cares , really?? It´s all about money nothing else!
  • - 3
 Not money, sponsors.
  • + 6
 sponsors is money
  • + 5
 Great athlets ride TREK. Aaron Gwin / TWR
add is still there Big Grin put it down pinkbike !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 trek might as well shut up shop,as they have no top riders now !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i hope this mean some kids get mad and wanna sell their 9.9's for cheap...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 fuck it i dont care anymore .... Im going to go ride my bike
[Reply]
  • - 3
 Theres only a few things I would like to know. . .
1. Will Gwin still be wearing his Redbull helmet?
2. Will we finally see Saint parts on a demo?
3. Who will fill the gap on TWR?

Pretty big surprise, since Gwin just signed the 3 season contract. . .
[Reply]
  • + 1
 im riding a Giant this year
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Martin Whitley is such a Douchebag!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Why would he leave Trek???
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If they dont stay monster specialized.........Redbull Specialized?
[Reply]
  • + 0
 After Lance Armpussy, I don't blame Gwin for switching it up. I'm not a Spesh guy but this is a good move for Aaron.
  • + 2
 Agree, this Armstrong - Drugs - Trek story is going to be huge mainstream media for the next few months. Even the very best PR spinners can't keep Trek from being in the media for all the wrong reasons while this is going down.

Can just see the press now - Trek lose top flight riders in other disciplines due to Lancegate!

"Armpussy" LoL, sounds like a Bond villain.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Will Monk go to spesh with aaron???
[Reply]
  • + 1
 ohh there's beef! I think there may be some legal action here!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 And then still have people who say money can not buy everything!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 hey trek, you mad bro
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i feel like there must be more to this story than what i am reading here
[Reply]
  • + 1
 is that batman walking over there to the left?
  • + 1
 Its gwin sneaking off to specialized haha
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sign up Jack reading to the full team!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Bring on Gee Atherton or Greg Minnaar
  • + 3
 atherton is a package deal of 3
  • + 2
 from whats happened in the last 2 weeks it really wouldn't surprise me
[Reply]
  • + 2
 April fools day!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 well, that escalated quickly.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sam HILL started this! :-D
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Monster Energy Specialized perhaps..?
  • + 0
 Nah it's specialised red bull and SRAM if I remember right from this morning
  • + 2
 Strong rumors as to no Monster Energy Specialized team for this year... perhaps a factory Specialized team. Smile
  • + 1
 Ah right, either way he's sat on a demo Smile replacement for Hill I guess?
  • + 1
 Most definitely! Probably there was some plans from before to get Gwin and Hill found out, or something, and that's why he left. That's just my opinion. Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 steve peat signs for iron horse!!!!!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 when trek wins the court stuff and gwin can't ride for spesh i'll go and kick some butt at spesh cause then they fired sam hill for no reason!
  • + 2
 they didn't fire hill, the contract just ended and he wanted to move on. read the article about it.
  • + 1
 Sam hills contract with specialized ran out, he wasn't fired
  • + 0
 don't you think they would have renewed it, if gwin wasn't aviable?
  • + 1
 Like kazwei said, Sam made the decision to move on, keep things fresh
  • + 1
 Don't you think Specialized wouldn't look after a new rider after Sam said he want to move on?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'll race for you Trek!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Key word "intent"
[Reply]
  • + 1
 grrreeeeaassssyyyy
[Reply]
  • - 1
 its a shame he left Trek but we dont know the whole story.I will continue to shred my 88,had both bikes but i sold the demo.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Still got a feeling they are trolling us
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Meh, I'd still ride Trek if I could.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 maybe he doesn't like their bikes?
[Reply]
  • - 1
 I think fox and shimano had a bigger part than gwinn did in the departure.
  • + 1
 In what way? The brake that broke Trek? I stole that line from someone on Vital.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 looks like spesh has got that effect on the pro's too. "mmm spesh, buy all the things"
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Better luck next year Whitley! Gwinny for pres 2014!!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 oh hell no he better not
[Reply]
  • - 1
 I'm not angry. I'm just disappointed.
[Reply]
  • - 3
 Did Gwin Breach His Contract With Trek World Racing? NO!! theres no CONTRACT at all!
  • + 3
 Contract law differs between countries, it might actually be illegal in the states to breach a signed letter of intent.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 Obviously he quit. Trek sucks.
[Reply]
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