|Joined: 27 Feb 2006|
|Location: Southern California||
|Lapierre took over Gitane's sponsorship of Francaise des Jeux. The two companies have been on an opposite trajectory ever since. And while Lapierre has moved on to bigger and better things, Gitane now makes bikes for the French Postal Service.
p.s.: Yes, I am bitter.
Lapierre on Lapierre
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By Stephane Lapierre
As a 4th generation Lapierre cyclist, I have grown up on and around bicycles my entire life. I was born in Dijon, France, and have lived in France my whole life, though I have spent the past 7 months in the US working to help introduce the Lapierre brand to North America. In 1946, my great grandfather, Gaston Lapierre, created Lapierre Bicycles. The company was originally created bikes for the French Laposte, which is the equivalent of the US Postal service. Yes, even the postmen ride bikes in France!
Over the following 15 years, and after World War II, Lapierre continued to grow, and demand for the brand extended beyond Laposte. The brand was becoming very famous in France very quickly. In 1960, my grandfather Jacky took over the company and managed it for the next 36 years, and in 1996, after many years as a Lapierre Sales Representative and then Sales Director, my father Gilles Lapierre took over as CEO.
Gilles has been able to build upon the success of my grandfather and great grandfather, and has continuously built the quality and assortment of product Ė as well as its distribution Ė around the world. A big part of this plan on the road side happened in 2002, when Lapierre partnered with the famous Tour de France team Francaise Des Jeux (now FDJ.fr). Today this partnership still exists Ė the longest running sponsorship of any bike brand at the WorldTour level. And throughout this 13 years of partnership, Team FDJ has provided critical feedback and in an integral part of the R&D of our company. With Thibaut Pinotís recent success at the Tour de France Ė as 3rd overall and winner of the white jersey Ė Lapierre is becoming one of the most distinguished road brands in the world.
Though weíve seen a lot of success on the road over the years, MTB has become the main playground of Lapierre. After more than 25 years of competition, today Lapierre has the #1 downhill team in the world, Team Lapierre Gravity Republic.
Also on the mountain side, Lapierre has partnered with Nicolas Vouilloz since 2003, a 10x DH World Champion. I have known Nico for years. Heís a very kind and good guy, and when you see him on the street you canít imagine he is a 10x world champion. Nico is incredibly knowledgeable, and has been a mentor to me for years. Iíve learned a lot from him both professionally as well as some tricks on the trails! When you learn something from Nico, you understand why he is one of the best riders in the world; his technique is unique and so efficient.
Nico is a very important part of Lapierre now, as he has been working with Lapierre R&D for years. He has helped create everything from the Zesty and Spicy with OST+ technology, to the DH with PendBox technology and now with SLT (Supra Link technology). When we see Team Gravity Republicís results on the new DH Team, you can imagine how the bike works so well. All the riders were very eager to get the new bike and the 27.5Ē wheel!
As a 4th generation Lapierre, I am really proud of what my family has accomplished, taking a simple but quality product made for a very small market and growing it into this BIG company. We are now the most popular bicycle brand in France, one of the biggest in Europe, and we are very excited to introduce our bicycles to North America.
Iím really proud to be a Lapierre. There has been a lot of work and time involved in getting Lapierre Bicycles to where it is today, and we still have so much to do! I invite you to come visit us at different events, get to know the brand and try the bikes. Lapierre is not only a brand, itís a name and a big family.
Friday, September 26, 2014 12:19:00 PM