At a dealer meeting held yesterday at Trek's HQ in Wisconsin, Lance Armstrong told 2000 bike store owners and staffers, and Trek factory workers, that it is about the bike, a Trek bike. Trek president John Burke said Armstrong would be a Trek "athlete for life."

Armstrong signs lifetime deal with Trek

"If he never came along, if he didn’t ride the bike, none of us would be here today," said Burke, reports the Wisconsin State Journal.

Armstrong signed a deal to permanently assist the company in the design and development of its road bike line.

He was gifted 7000 shares in the privately-held company, one thousand for each Tour de France win.

"You only want shares in good companies. And these are shares I’m happy to have ‘cos this is one hell of a good company," said Armstrong to cheers.

Trek marketing spokesman Zapata Espinoza. a former MTB journalist, said:

"{Armstrong] has already started focusing on developing the new technology for the following tour. Lance is a bike geek. And that’s enabled us to do things we never thought were possible on a bike. He will continue to drive us as he has over that past few years."

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Armstrong said: "It is a lot about the bike. You guys make and create a great product. And the same bike that I ride is same bike you can buy in the stores."

The $1m dealer meeting was to introduce Trek’s 2006 line of bicycles and accessories. The company is not showing at this year’s Interbike in Las Vegas.

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