Nys and Trek of course say it’s more than just trying to sell a lot of bikes, as Nys believes he can grow the sport through product development. Nys’ interest in Trek was triggered by friends, on Trek-sponsored teams, who described how the company incorporated feedback from their athletes into the product. “One of the things he said to me,” relayed Simon Thompson, “Was that he felt like he has all of this wisdom and knowledge, from years of experience that have built up, and he felt like his other partners weren’t interested, or didn’t have the ability to tap into that and utilize that for what they are doing.”
Nys was looking for a partner that would enable him to be more than just a racer. Nys wanted to become an ambassador. To Thompson, this clearly aligned with Trek’s goals. “I think he felt like there was an opportunity to leave a legacy from his racing career, and if he stayed where he was he wouldn’t be able to do what he wanted to do,” recalled Thompson. “He has ambitions of growing the sport of cyclocross, and a US partner would obviously be able to help him. But even on the product side, he’s got so much to give. We are a company that designs bikes for racing at the highest level, we take the process of working with the world’s best athletes seriously. To have an athlete of his caliber, that wants to work with us, is perfect.”
The two parties quickly came to terms. From the time that Thompson first met with Golazo at the end of May, it took only a few weeks to finalize the deal terms, and by the end of July the contract was signed. Nys spent a day with the Trek products team in Waterloo as they finalized the deal terms, and found that their progress on “future projects” was well beyond his expectations.
Until December 30, Trek has officially remained silent on the details of the relationship. The company has been especially concerned about being perceived as a corporate bully, out-muscling a historic brand like Colnago with deep pockets. The negative feedback expressed on social media after Nys let the news slip, irked the folks at Trek. Given their investment in sponsored athletes, and desire to create products based on race-tested input, it seemed unfair to Trek insiders.
Trek won’t comment on the size of the deal but they view Nys’ final decision in a broader context. “Obviously he’s the best in the world and there were a lot of people interested in Sven. He had a lot of options, and he chose Trek,” said Trek’s cyclocross guru Matt Shriver. “[From] my conversations with Sven, he chose Trek because of the support for the athletes, the product, the way we operate like a family, and what we want to do in the future with cyclocross.”