The Hammer Series is a revolutionary new cycling format, but what is it and how does it work?
Here is everything you need to know about Hammer Limburg.
Hammer Limburg in a nutshell
Hammer Limburg is a three-day professional cycling event held in Limburg, in the Netherlands, from June 1-3.
The event is made up of three races in three days: the Hammer Climb on June 1, the Hammer Sprint on June 2 and the Hammer Chase on June 3.
Multiple teams of seven riders will take part, but teams can only field five riders in each of the three races.
Is it the same as a stage race?
No. While traditional multi-day cycling races have individual riders as stage and classification winners, Hammer Series events are all about teams.
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 will then be combined to determine their starting place on day three’s Hammer Chase, a team time trial in which the first team over the line will be crowned Hammer Limburg champions.
So how does the Hammer Climb work?
It takes place over 11 laps of a 7km circuit containing two short climbs. At the end of every lap, the first 10 riders over the finish line will earn the following points for their teams: 100, 81, 66, 53, 43, 35, 28, 23, 19 and 15. Double points will be awarded on laps three, seven and 11.
The team with the most points will win the Hammer Climb and move to the top of the overall leaderboard.
In total, 34.1km (44 per cent) of the 77km race distance is uphill and riders will crest 22 summits at an average of one every 3.5km.
They will have to climb an average of 23 vertical metres per kilometre for the duration of the race, which is the same metres-per-kilometre ratio as the mercilessly hilly 16th stage of the 2017 Giro d’Italia. However, a better way of looking at the Hammer Climb is as a miniature and more intense Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Although the race heavily favours climbers, the two ascents have only moderate maximum gradients, which may be shallow enough to allow all-rounders and even punchy sprinters to challenge for points on certain laps.
And the Hammer Sprint?
It takes places over eight laps of a flat 12.4km circuit. The first 10 riders to cross the line at the end of each lap will earn points for their teams (100, 81, 66, 53, 43, 35, 28, 23, 19 and 15), with double points available on laps two, five and eight.
The team with the most points from the day will win the Hammer Sprint and results will contribute to the overall leaderboard.
And finally, the Hammer Chase?
This is the decisive race. It is a team time trial taking place over 3 laps of a 12.4km course.
For safety, teams will be split into two groups: the top half on the leaderboard will go into Group 1, and bottom half will go into Group 2.
Teams in each group will set off at fixed time intervals decided by their position on the leaderboard. The fixed time intervals for both groups are below.
Teams in Group 1 can challenge for both victory in the Hammer Chase and overall Hammer Series victory. Teams in Group 2 can challenge for the Hammer Chase win, but not overall victory.
The winner of the Hammer Chase will be the team that completes the course in the fastest time. The winner of Hammer Limburg will be the first team over the finish line from Group 1.
The Hammer Series points system
Teams accumulate points at Hammer Stavanger, Hammer Limburg in, the Netherlands and Hammer 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|