Team Sky are excited to return to the Hammer Series, which has been extended to two races for 2018.
After the success of the inaugural event in 2017 - won by Team Sky after a nail-biting finale in Limburg - an extra Hammer race has been added in 2018, to be held in Stavanger, Norway (25-27 May). The Hammer Series then returns to Limburg on 1-3 June for the second race of the series.
Watched by more than three million fans on social media channels alone in 2017, the Hammer Series provides innovative team-v-team action across three days - the Hammer Climb, Hammer Sprint and Hammer Chase.
Tao Geoghegan Hart played a crucial role in our success last year and the Brit is a big fan of the format.
He said: “It was a real pleasure to race in the inaugural Hammer Series last year and obviously it was made all the more special because we won. The racing was intense - with groups coming and going all the time. The format definitely suits aggressive racing.
“It’s great that so many cycling fans around the world were able to watch it live. I know a lot of people who don’t often watch racing tuned in because it was live on Facebook. I hope I get to race in one of the events this year and look forward to trying to retain our title we won in 2017.”
Sport Director Servais Knaven guided our five-man lineup to the win from the team car and echoed Geoghegan Hart’s thoughts.
He said: “Last year’s Hammer Series was a great event and I’m sure it's only going to get better in 2018. I really enjoyed my view of the racing from the team car in Limburg - it was so exciting, and it was full gas from the gun every day.
“The format is great and from the look of the spectators at the start and finish it certainly went down well. I think young fans will love this type of racing and that is so important for the sport."
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 three.
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.