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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, January 6, 2018

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. - J. K. Rowling

Latest completed racing:

Rohan Dennis wins Australian Time Trial Championships

Team BMC sent me this report:

5 January, 2017, Ballarat (AUS): Rohan Dennis has stamped his authority on the Australian National Time Trial Championships with an impressive ride that saw the South Australian smash the 40.9km course and take his third consecutive win by 1:08.

Dennis lined up as the outright favorite and was joined on the podium by Richie Porte who claimed the bronze medal in his first time trial since the 2017 Tour de France.

Defending road race champion Miles Scotson clocked the fourth-fastest time on the day in what was a strong display from BMC Racing Team's Australian trio in the first race of the 2018 season.

Dennis set the best time at every check point and eventually caught runner up Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) before going on to cross the line alongside Scotson, who started two minutes ahead.

Dennis averaged 47.9km/hour, having covered the 40.9km out and back course in a blistering 51:14.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis time-trialing at the 2017 Tour of Switzerland

Interview with Rohan Dennis:

Rohan, three championships in a row! How are you feeling?

"I'm pretty happy. It was obviously a different run in this year with regards to training. I've been in Europe a lot longer and the main concern for me was the heat and how I was going to cope today. So, I'm glad I handled it quite well and came home with the win."

How important is it for you to wear the green and gold skinsuit?

"It's more of a pride thing. To come here, win it and wear the jersey for the rest of the year is an honor. It's hard to win as you see with guys like Richie Porte, Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) and Miles Scotson, who is up and coming and improving every year. So, it's not easy to win. It's stressful but as I said, it's more the pride and honor of wearing it."

How did the race play out?

"I held on for longer and didn't blow out as much as what I would normally do. I was told to go out a bit easier this year but in the end, I feel it out. I actually just seemed to be able to hold myself, and compose myself, until 5km to go, instead of suffering with 10km to go, and sit pretty comfortably. I did a few extra things to keep cooler out there. It's never a bad thing [to catch the rider in front] but I still didn't know how Richie was going. I heard at one stage that I was a minute up on him but then I heard nothing. But, I was confident with the power I was holding."

What are your thoughts ahead of the road race?

"We have Richie Porte, Simon Gerrans and defending champion Miles Scotson so I'm not sure what our plan is at the moment. I wanted to come here and have a good hit out before the Santos Tour Down Under. Hopefully this year I'll  actually finish the road race! We're lacking numbers compared to other teams but we have the quality."

Quotes from the Finish Line

Richie Porte:

"I have to be happy with that. Obviously, it's been a long time since I really raced hard and today was such a hard day. It's a hard course at the best of times but with that heat, it was a nice little hit out. The podium was the big goal and it was a good result for me. To finish third to Rohan Dennis, who is absolutely flying, and Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott), is not a bad podium. Miles Scotson was up there as well. I've really enjoyed the past two months, being fit and healthy, and now getting results in January. In cycling, you are only as good as your last performance. The time trial was a good show of form for us going into the road race on Sunday and I'm looking forward to racing with Simon Gerrans instead of against him."

Australian National Time Trial Championships - Individual Time Trial, Ballarat > Ballarat (40.9km)

Top 3: 1. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team), 2. Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott), 3. Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team).

BMC Racing Team top 3: 1. Rohan Dennis, 3. Richie Porte, 4. Miles Scotson.

Georgia Williams wins New Zealand time trial title

Mitchelton-Scott sent me this news:

Georgia Williams kick started her 2018 season in style by claiming her first ever elite national title today, with convincing win in the New Zealand National Time Trial Championships in Napier, bringing the New Zealand champion's jersey to Mitchelton-SCOTT for the first time.

On an undulating course in windy conditions, Williams started with a furious pace, setting the fastest half-way split time and managed to hold on into a strong finishing head-wind to complete the 20kilometre event 14seconds faster than her nearest rival Rushlee Buchanan (UHC).

Williams has been around the mark on numerous occasions at the national championships, having finished runner-up in the road race three times and in the time trial event finishing in a close second place last year and third place in 2013. Now as the new 2018 champion, the 24-year-old feels relieved to finally claim her first elite title.

Georgia Williams: “I feel relieved more than anything and just so happy to take the win. At the half-way point I thought maybe I had gone out too hard as I knew there was a headwind straight coming up but I managed to hold on until the finish.”

“It is really cool to take the jersey and be able to represent New Zealand while racing in Europe, I should have quite a few time trial events during stage races where I will get to wear the national skinsuit.”

With no time to celebrate, Williams will be back in action tomorrow for the 114kilometre women’s road race where she has some unfinished business to try and turn her previous silver medals into gold.

Georgia Williams: “I’m really happy to win the time trial jersey today but I still really want to win the road jersey tomorrow. It takes a little bit of the pressure and stress off having won the event today because now I have a title to my name, but I’m definitely motivated to go after the other one now.”

Lotto-Soudal line-ups for Tour Down Under & Vuelta a San Juan

The team sent me this preview:

A new year began five days ago and it won’t take long before the new cycling season is kicked off too.

The first race that the Lotto Soudal team will participate in this year is the Tour Down Under. This Australian WorldTour stage race takes place from Tuesday 16 January till Sunday 21 January. Traditionally the Tour Down Under is preceded by the People’s Choice Classic, a criterium in Adelaide on Sunday 14 January. After the Tour Down the Lotto Soudal riders, except for André Greipel, will also take part in a criterium in Melbourne on Thursday 25 January and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (WorldTour) on Sunday 28 January.

Line-up Tour Down Under: Lars Bak, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Bjorg Lambrecht and Marcel Sieberg.

Sports director: Herman Frison.

Lars Bak

Lars Bak (shown at the 2017 People's Choice Classic) will race the 2018 Tour Down Under

Six other Lotto Soudal riders will defend the team’s honour during the Vuelta a San Juan; a stage race in Argentina from Sunday 21 January till Sunday 28 January.

Line-up Vuelta a San Juan: Tiesj Benoot, Jens Keukeleire, Nikolas Maes, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Wallays and Enzo Wouters.

Sports director: Mario Aerts.

The other WorldTour riders go on training camp to Mallorca from 6 till 16 January. These riders are Sander Armée, Victor Campenaerts, Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, Moreno Hofland, Tomasz Marczyński, Rémy Mertz, Maxime Monfort, Lawrence Naesen, James Shaw, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens. Just like in December they will stay at the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre.

Niner assets to be sold this month

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this report:

An investor group has made a stalking horse offer and will acquire the company from bankruptcy unless it's outbid.

DENVER (BRAIN) — If all goes to plan, a Colorado investor group will acquire Niner, Inc.'s assets and bring the company out of bankruptcy before the end of the month

But first, other potential buyers will be given a chance to bid for the company at an auction next Thursday. The auction will be held only if additional qualified bidders appear by next Wednesday, the deadline for bid submissions. If no bidders turn up, the investor group's "stalking horse" purchase agreement will be accepted and the deal will be closed on Jan. 17.

Niner petitioned for Chapter 11 protection on Nov. 27 in Denver's bankruptcy court, listing assets of $9.8 million and liabilities of $7.9 million. A few days prior to the filing, Niner had announced that it would be acquired by an investor group later identified as Columbia Basin Partners.

At the time, company co-founder, CEO and president Chris Sugai told BRAIN that the bankruptcy filing was done in anticipation of the sale.

"This was the cleanest and fastest way to do it," Sugai told BRAIN on Nov. 28. He said Niner had been looking for an investor or buyer who could help it grow and compete with better funded rivals in the bike market. Court filings indicated Niner was over leveraged and lacked resources to invest in product development and marketing.

"We will be a stronger company when we come out of this," Sugai told BRAIN. "(The partners) are not buying the company to strangle it; they like the company and they want to grow it."

You can read the entire story here.

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