Specialized kondigde vandaag officieel aan dat zij een overeenkomst hebben gesloten met de Amerikaanse downhiller Aaron Gwin.
“I'm super excited to start this new chapter in my career with Specialized bicycles. The entire Specialized staff has welcomed me with open arms and I'm blown away by the level of support they've shown me. This is my dream program and I can't thank them enough for this opportunity. Bring on 2013!” - Aaron Gwin
“The combination of Aaron Gwin and the Specialized brand have an American storyline written all over it that was always meant to be. Aaron will not only bring another element to the program, but it’ll be amazing watching this trio ripping down the tracks together. We can’t wait to get started with this new exciting opportunity and look forward to the season ahead.” - Sean Heimdal, Team Manager
Maar, was het niet Trek World Racing die al aan het eind van dit seizoen meldde dat Gwin voor twee jaar zou bijtekenen? Martin Whiteley stuurde dan ook het volgende persbericht:
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".
Aaron Gwin verklaarde:
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.
Kortom, dat gaat nog gezellig worden in het mountainbike circus! Rockyroads, anyone?