The unique Hammer Series, an event looking to redefine the sport of road cycling, has been bumped up to two long weekends of racing action for 2018. The racing tests three different disciplines, all raced – and won – as a team rather than for individual glory. Who is going to lift the mighty hammer come the end of the Hammer Series?
What’s the Hammer Series?
A revolutionary racing concept derived from the minds of two cycling tech companies, Velon CC and Infront Cycling Media, the Hammer Series is an event looking to create a new and alternative approach to bike racing.
Many fans will relate to the agonising wait experienced at traditional bike races with hours of tedium finally giving way to one fleeting moment of pure elation. The Hammer Series looks to transform this with its circuits and multiple laps, turning the more classic cycle races into an exhibition of speed, action and pure heroism with the fans at the centre.
Starting with an inaugural race in Limburg in 2017, the series has expanded to two events of three days each for 2018 – one in Stavanger, Norway and the other back home in Limburg.
How does it work?
The racing is spread across three days – 25th to 27th May in Stavanger, Norway, and 1st to 3rd June in Limburg, Netherlands – each day testing a new cycling discipline.
The first day is the Hammer Climb, a hilly circuit route with multiple laps offering points over every classified summit. The first 10 teams that place one of their riders across the summit score points, and just to further test the mental arithmetic of all involved, several laps offer double points across the line. Imagine an Olympic track cycling points race on a road course littered with short sharp climbs. There will be no let up.
The second day sees the teams contest the Hammer Sprint, a flatter and much faster circuit than the first day. The concept is very much the same, the first 10 riders across the line on each lap scoring points for their team. Like the Hammer Climb, double points are also intermittently up for grabs, providing further incentive to make the racing even fiercer than it already was.
The event culminates on the final day with the Hammer Chase. A TTT-like event where teams set off in order depending on accumulated points, the chase has all teams embarking on a team pursuit as they try to make up the deficit to the team in front. There will be overtaking – a sight unfamiliar in team time trials, though not unheard of – which also represents leap-frogging up the leader board. Ultimately, the first over the line wins: simple.Who should I look out for?
Sixteen teams head to the Hammer Series in 2018, a mix of World Tour and professional continental teams, all boasting some popular names from the pro peloton. Each team fields a roster of seven riders across the three days of racing but only races with five per day, allowing team directors to build a team specifically for each event.
Defending champions, Team Sky, return to this race looking for further success. Their star of the 2017 series, Briton Tao Geoghegan Hart, is looking on imperious form after helping his team leader to Tour of California victory, just missing out on the podium himself in the process. Jon Dibben and Owain Doull also return to the unique event, and will be looking to recreate success this year alongside Hammer Series debutants, Gianni Moscon and Beñat Intxausti. Rocking the white and blue livery, Team Sky will race aboard their trusted Pinarello Dogma F10s, a bike that has brought them much success already in 2018.
Looking to add the Hammer Series title to their already overflowing 2018 trophy cabinet will be the rampant Quick-Step Floors team. Riding the infinitely versatile S-Works Tarmac, Niki Terpstra spearheads the Belgian team, eager to replicate his Spring Classics success.
Probably rank outsiders at this year’s Hammer Series, Trek-Segafredo nonetheless have the potential to make waves in the Hammer Chase event, with Alex Frame and Michael Gogl both experienced in the TT discipline. On the other two days, Trek will board their speedy Madone, a bike that screams “aero!” as the air hums through its tapered frame.
Excited for the Hammer Series? Then make sure you tune into one of their various social media platforms, each promising to broadcast the race live, and most importantly, free of charge.