BEND, OR (BRAIN) — Twenty-two years after racing with him on Team Z, Paul Willerton is teaming up with Greg LeMond again, at LeMond's new Minneapolis-based bike company.
Willerton is the new marketing manager for LeMond's company, which introduced its first bikes at Interbike this fall. Willerton is a part owner of the sock company Defeet and said he will remain active with that company as he works for LeMond.
Willerton was teammates with LeMond for just one year, but their relationship began in the 1980s and has continued over the years.
"I was standing in the Interbike booth in 1987 when LeMond showed his first bikes; my team raced on the first LeMond bikes, which were made by Roland Della Santa," Willerton said Friday.
"So my history with LeMond bikes goes all the way back to the beginning, and almost every iteration of LeMond bikes since the first day, from the TVT models in 1990, all the way up through the different iterations of the company and now this."
Willerton said the latest version of the LeMond bike company is different than previous versions because Greg LeMond can concentrate on it full time.
"What's exciting at this point is that Greg is so involved. He’s excited and comes to the office. Back in the '80s and early 90s he was focusing on his racing more than the bike company, but this time he’s getting to take more of the main role in the company, which is a good spot for him to be in. He’s really enjoying it."
LeMond currently is selling its Revolution trainers and taking orders for its first bikes and frames, a limited edition line of three models made by Time in France. Those frames will begin shipping at the end of next month. LeMond also has acquired the exclusive U.S. distribution rights for Time frames and accessories and is distributing Time pedals. The pedals also will remain available through QBP.
Willerton said he's been spending a lot of time at LeMond's new headquarters in downtown Minneapolis in recent weeks, but he expects to remain living in Bend, where he has been since 1996.