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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, December 3, 2017

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Latest completed racing:

Breakaway succeeds in stage one of Quanzhou Tour

We aren't covering the Tour of Quanzhou Bay, a 2.2-ranked Chinese race. Mitchelton-Scott posted this race update

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Sat, 2 Dec, 2017: A five-man breakaway stayed away to contest the victory on today’s opening stage of the Tour of Quanzhou Bay in China as Mitchelton-SCOTT led the chase behind.

A short and fast first day of racing was on from the flag drop with numerous attacks trying to break clear before what turned out to be a significant group of attackers started to develop an advantage.

Mitchelton-SCOTT were not part of the attack and took up the chase at the head of the peloton, but despite their efforts the leaders worked well together and a quintet held one minute going into the final.

Harry Tanfield (BikeChannel-Canyon) took the stage victory and moved into the race lead by over one minute with Cameron Meyer the best placed for Mitchelton-SCOTT in 63rd.

“We weren’t part of the early breakaway,” said sport director Neil Stephens. “And that move ended up reducing into the five riders that went on to contest the stage win. We chased unassisted for around half of the stage, but the group held on.”

“There wasn’t as much wind as expected today considering the coastal position and what wind there was constantly changed direction. In general the boys have travelled well, but we have an uphill task ahead of us now.

“A lead of over a minute is significant in a race made up of short stages like this one, tomorrow's second stage is longer than today at 111.4kilometres with a slight ramp to the finish and we will try to get up there for a result.”

Tour of Quanzhou Bay stage one results:

1. Harry Tanfield (BikeChannel-Canyon) 01:38:47

2. Rory Townsend (BikeChannel-Canyon) +0:10

3. Ben Hamilton (Team-Skoda-Racing) ST

63. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:03

General Classification after stage one:

1. Harry Tanfield (BikeChannel-Canyon) 01:38:47

2. Rory Townsend (BikeChannel-Canyon) +0:11

3. Ben Hamilton (Team-Skoda-Racing) +0:18

63. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:16

Niner files for bankruptcy ahead of planned sale

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this update:

DENVER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Niner Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday ahead of a planned acquisition by a Colorado investor group.

The company had announced Nov. 22 that a group had agreed to purchase the company, not mentioning the planned Chapter 11 filing or naming the investors.

On Tuesday, it filed a petition with the Colorado Bankruptcy Court in Denver listing assets of $9.8 million and liabilities of $7.9 million.

In an interview Wednesday, company co-founder and president Chris Sugai said the Chapter 11 filing was the most efficient way to sell the company to the group, which is called Columbia Basin Partners. "This was the cleanest and fastest way to do it," he told BRAIN, noting that the court filings show the company plans to emerge from the bankruptcy by Jan. 30 and to complete the sale prior to that date.

In a previous interview, Sugai said Niner had been looking for an investment for some time. "To remain competitive we felt an investment was necessary, in order to greenlight some projects we feel are important," he told BRAIN. He said he was happy with the agreement reached with the investors but declined to say whether he would retain any equity in the company he co-founded in 2004.

In that interview, he said Niner had been profitable for five of the last six years, but lacked resources to invest in R & D and marketing. He noted that Niner was competing with larger brands, including the major international full-line bike companies and niche brands like Santa Cruz, which was purchased by Pon Group in 2015.

The bankruptcy filing opens the possibility that other entities could make a bid for the company. Sugai said he was aware of that risk and said he hopes Columbia Basin Partners succeeds in buying the brand. "We've been working with them for quite a while," he said.

He declined to identify the partners beyond saying they are three experienced businessmen who are also bike enthusiasts. He said they are committed to growing the company.

"We will be a stronger company when we come out of this. They are not buying the company to strangle it; they like the company and they want to grow it. We think that once we can see a renewal in advertising and R & D, Niner can continue to grow."

You can read the entire story here.

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