The revolutionary cycling race series returns to Limburg in The Netherlands, along with second weekend in Stavanger, Norway
The Hammer Series, a ground-breaking three-day pro cycling series, officially announced its return to cycling’s heartland, Limburg in the Netherlands on June 1-3 and the addition of a second race, Hammer Stavanger, taking place in Norway May 25-27.
Following an exciting inaugural event last year in Limburg, which was watched by more than three million cycling fans on social media channels alone, the Hammer Series is back for the 2018 season with two races.
Each race is comprised of three days of intense competition, providing close-up thrills for cycling fans in an innovative team-v-team format designed for digital and broadcast viewing. Unlike traditional stage-based races in which individual riders take to the podium, the Hammer Series pits teams of five riders against each other over extremely testing courses to determine the best team.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Each Hammer event is made up of three Hammer race days – Hammer Climb, Hammer Sprint, and Hammer Chase. Teams select five riders from a pool of seven for each race, fielding their strongest sprinters, climbers and time trialists for the respective race days.
Day 1 - Hammer Climb
The Hammer Climb is a points-style race that tests the teams over 7-12 laps of a climbing course. Points are awarded to the first 10 riders across the line at the end of each lap, with double points on offer on three laps including the final.
Day 2 - Hammer Sprint
The Hammer Sprint is another race for points, this time taking place on laps of a fast, flat circuit. Once again, points are awarded to the first 10 teams to get a rider over the line at the end of each lap, with double points available on three laps including the final. The race winners are the team that has accumulated the most points, with the top 10 riders receiving bonus points in descending order, that contribute to their starting position in the Hammer Chase on day 3.
Day 3 - Hammer Chase
Day three is the decider: the Hammer Chase, a team time trial with a twist. The team in pole position on the leaderboard following the previous two days of racing are first off, and following a fixed time, they’re pursued by the second placed team, and so on. In this thrilling ‘fox and hound’ type format, the first team over the line will win the Hammer Chase and claim overall victory, earning the title of Hammer Champions.
In 2017, Trek-Segafredo won the Hammer sprint in Limburg after playing the highly tactical game to perfection. Jasper Stuyven explains how the team came out on top:
Honestly, I think we rode the perfect race. We started out really strong and worked together very well to guarantee that every lap one of us could grab some points. But, I have to admit that it was a very intensive race, and after every effort, you really had to rest again in the bunch to recover before launching the next attack.
Dutch cyclist Bauke Mollema did not attend the 2017 event in the Netherlands, but agrees his cycling-fanatic country is the perfect venue for such an event:
I couldn't make it last year, but from what I heard, it was a really cool event, with a great vibe, and plenty of enthusiastic Dutch fans cheering the guys on. I believe that this format definitely has its place on the cycling calendar; it shows that cycling is hard but also a fun sport and highlights that's it's a team event and this doesn't always show in traditional cycling races. It's a cycling festival that is very spectator friendly and brings fans, riders and teams closer together in a great atmosphere.
Hammer Stavanger (Norway) joins the series for 2018 and will follow immediately after the Tour des Fjords, guaranteeing some of the highest-caliber of racing this year in Scandinavia.
Courses, venues, and our line-ups for Hammer Stavanger and Hammer Limburg will be announced at a later date along with details about where to watch the events in person and online around the world.
Hammer Series: https://www.hammerseries.com/