The Hammer Series, a ground-breaking three-day pro cycling series today officially announces its return to cycling’s heartland, Limburg in the Netherlands on 1-3 June 2018 and the addition of a second race in the series, Hammer Stavanger, taking place on 25-27 May.
Following an exciting inaugural event in 2017, which was watched by more than three million cycling fans on social media channels alone, the Hammer Series now kicks off the 2018 season with two back to back races.
Each race sees 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 race is made up of three Hammer race days - the Hammer Climb, the Hammer Sprint and the Hammer Chase. Teams select five riders for each race from a pool of seven so they can field their strongest sprinters, climbers and time trialists for the respective race days.
Day 1 - Hammer Climb
The Hammer Climb is a points race, aimed to test 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 points race, this time taking place over 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 have 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 period, 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.
Richard Plugge explains why the team are participating in the Hammer series this year: “Cycling is not an individual sport, it’s a team sport. To get the winner his wins, he needs the help of his teammates. Total dedication of the whole team around the leader is crucial to get success. Without a team, nobody can win, that’s what we saw last year. I’m looking forward to exciting racing through the whole season and the fights and races that will take place in Sittard and Stavanger, for example. The Hammer Series is an amazing format; it will appeal the fans and interest them to watch cycling.”
Dylan Groenewegen reflects on last year’s race. “It's a good thing there are two Hammer Series this year. Last year in Limburg, it was really spectacular. We had to go 100 kilometres full gas, so that was hard. But it's nice to ride another kind of race. It's not about winning as a rider, but winning as a team. I hope the team can go for the win this year, after we finished sixth in Limburg last year.
Joining the series this year is Hammer Stavanger, a race set in the city and municipality of the same name in Norway and the third-largest urban area in the country. As the energy capital of Europe, 50 years as the headquarters for oil and gas activities in Norway have shaped Stavanger into a truly international region. In fact, Hammer Stavanger will be supported by Veidekke and Repsol, two of the world’s largest energy and civil engineering companies, with operations based in Norway.
Hammer Stavanger will follow the Tour des Fjords 2018, which takes place May 22-24 - guaranteeing some of the highest-calibre of racing this year in Scandinavia.
Course, venue and rider information for Hammer Stavanger and Hammer Limburg will be announced later along with details about where to watch the events in person and online around the world.