Hammer Series: The format explained
The Hammer Series is a revolutionary new cycling format. What is it and how does it work?
Hammer Series in a nutshell
In 2018, the Hammer Series is made up of three races, usually over three racing days but with a special one-day edition in Hong Kong. Each day is a different discipline: the Hammer Climb, Hammer Sprint and Hammer Chase.
The races are:
- Hammer Stavanger, Norway, May 25-27
- Hammer Limburg, Netherlands, June 1-3
- Hammer Hong Kong, October 14 (one day)
Teams accumulate points in Norway, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. The team with most points at the end of Hammer Hong Kong will be crowned the Hammer Series Winners 2018. Points are awarded from each race as follows:
|Position||Hammer Stavanger||Hammer Limburg||Hammer Hong Kong||Points|
Is it the same as a stage race?
No. Traditional cycling races have individual riders as stage and classification winners but the Hammer Series is all about teams, deciding the best team in cycling. Teams are made up of seven riders, but they can field only five riders on any given race day.
The Hammer Climb and Hammer Sprint are points races in which riders will attempt to win points for their team.
Each team’s finishing positions from days one and two are combined to determine their starting place on day three’s Hammer Chase, a team pursuit against the clock.
So how does the Hammer Climb work?
It takes place over multiple laps of a short circuit. On every lap, riders will earn points for their teams depending on their position when they cross the line. The higher the position, the more points.
The team with the most points will win the Hammer Climb.
And the Hammer Sprint?
Again, it takes place over multiple laps of a short circuit and riders can earn points for their teams by placing as high as possible at the end of each lap.
The team with the most points will win the Hammer Sprint.
And finally, the Hammer Chase?
This is the decisive race. It is a team pursuit over several laps of a circuit.
The participating teams will be ranked by adding together their positions in the first two races, so the higher a team was on the leader board after the first two days, the higher they are placed on the start line for the decisive day.
Teams in each group will set off at fixed time intervals decided by their ranking based on performance in the previous days' racing.
For safety, the Hammer Chase teams are split into two starting groups: the top half will go into Finalist Group, and bottom half will go into the Runner-up Group.
Teams in the Runner-Up Group can challenge for the Hammer Chase win but not overall race victory. The team which completes the Hammer Chase in the fastest time will win the Hammer Chase regardless of the group they started in that day.
Teams in the Finalist Group challenge for victory in the race. The team which crosses the finish first in the Finalist Group will be the winner of that Hammer race.
The fourth wheel over the line counts as the team finishing.
In the Hammer Chase, commissaires use a series of flags to control the race.
- Yellow - first warning
- Orange - final warning
- Green - warning over
- Red - disqualified
* Whilst Hammer Series Races are officially sanctioned by the UCI, the "Hammer Series Winner" is not an official UCI award at this time.