What's Cool In Road Cycling

All info about the Hammer Series

After weeks of counting down, the day has finally come: Hammer Sportzone Limburg kicks off today with the official team presentation tonight in Sittard. Tomorrow the racings begins. Three days long, sixteen teams will battle for the overall victory of these Hammer Series. The teams will compete against each other in the Hammer Climb, Hammer Sprint and Hammer Chase.

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The riders and I are looking forward to this race. I like the format and I am convinced it has the potential to attract viewers and spectators. It are short, explosive races and that is always nice to watch. It is definitely worth coming to Limburg because there is a lot of animation.”

“The format is unique in cycling, so we have to wait how the different teams will race. Unlike the intermediate sprints in the stage races it doesn’t matter which rider picks up the points for your team. I think there will be a lot of attacks. The peloton won’t head from sprint to sprint as a group. The sprints succeed each other quickly, so it will be important to race attentively. The teams can only line up five riders for each race which doesn’t make it easy to chase down breakaways. It will be important to be at the front all time. The team pursuit is also something special. The mental aspect will be important. How do the riders react if they see a team in front of them: will that motivate them or will their legs explode? The time of the fourth rider counts.”

“André Greipel will ride his first race since the Giro. He is our most explosive rider. Jens Debusschere is in a good shape at the moment. He won a stage at 4 Jours de Dunkerque and Belgium Tour. Moreno Hofland is also fast, even uphill. Tim Wellens likes innovation and is used to racing aggressively, so he definitely deserves a place in our line-up. Louis Vervaeke is also still young and if this is the future of cycling he can’t get the experience soon enough. Marcel Sieberg will be very valuable. He can judge situations really well and react adequately to it. Sibi also knows how to handle with the chaos before a sprint. Jelle Wallays is versatile. He can pull the sprint for a teammate, close a gap or attack. I will be happy on Sunday evening if we have animated the race three days long. We want to perform well and end up in the first half of the classification.”

The races
The first race, the Hammer Climb, consists of eleven laps of seven kilometres with two short hills on the circuit. At the end of each lap the first ten riders will gain points. The points will be doubled at the end of laps three, seven and eleven. The team with the most points wins the hammer Climb and the top ten collects bonus seconds.

The Hammer Sprint is scheduled on Saturday. The riders have to cover eight laps of 12.4 kilometres. Again, points will be distributed between the first ten riders at the end of each lap. There will be double points in the second, fifth and last lap. The best ten teams get bonus seconds again. Those will be important for the team pursuit the next day. The bonus seconds get the teams extra advantage. The team that leads the classification will start first. The other seven teams of the top eight can still win the Hammer Series. The team pursuit is 44.7 kilometres long (three laps of 14.9 kilometres).

The races of the Hammer Sportzone Limburg can be watched live on Facebook and YouTube.

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