Hammer Series 2018: How it unfolded

Following the huge success of Hammer Limburg in 2017, the Hammer Series expanded to three races in 2018: Hammer Stavanger, Hammer Limburg and the decisive ‘Showdown Sunday’ at Hammer Hong Kong.

Here’s a quick reminder of how the Hammer Series unfolded last season, including video from every event at every race:

Hammer Stavanger: 25/26/27 May 2018

Picturesque Sandes in Norway was the venue for the first day of Hammer Stavanger. Mitchelton-SCOTT laid down a marker immediately with a dominant ride on the 8.5km circuit.

Michael Albasini - fresh from winning GC at the Tour des Fjords immediately before Hammer Stavanger - mopped up maximum points on several laps in sunny Sandnes, breaking away and co-operating with Antwan Tolhoek (Team LottoNL-Jumbo).

In the next day’s Hammer Sprint, the Australian outfit were again in commanding form.

Daryl Impey made it into a significant breakaway, teaming up with Stefan Küng (BMC Racing Team) to distance the chasing peloton, and deny the pure sprinters their chance to compete for maximum points on several laps.

Mitchelton-SCOTT were hungry for more on the third and final day, the Hammer Chase, producing a masterclass of power and discipline to take yet another win and seal a clean sweep at Stavanger.

The power of riders like Roger Kluge, Damien Howson and Cameron Meyer left second-placed Quick-Step Floors with no answer as Mitchelton-SCOTT hit the top of the Hammer Series standings ahead of Hammer Limburg …

Mitchelton-SCOTT celebrate at Hammer Stavanger

Mitchelton-SCOTT celebrate at Hammer Stavanger

Hammer Limburg: 1/2/3 June 2018

The Hammer Series headed from Norway to the Netherlands.

In the Hammer Climb on Day 1, Mark Padun and Sonny Colbrelli pulled off a tactical masterclass for Team Bahrain Merida in rainswept Vaals - the highest point in The Netherlands.

Tim Wellens and Bjorg Lambrecht starred for Lotto Soudal and Enric Mas turned in a brilliant solo ride for Quick-Step Floors, but Bahrain Merida had too much.

In the Hammer Sprint on Day 2, Mitchelton-SCOTT roared back into form with victory largely driven by superb teamwork and smart tactical riding.

Young Australian Caleb Ewan was to the fore in the sprints, along with Luka Mezgec, while Roger Kluge and Mathew Hayman provided capable support.

In an exciting conclusion to the second Hammer Limburg, it was Mitchelton-SCOTT that took the victory in the Hammer Chase, the team time trial handicap format, but Quick-Step Floors did enough to seal the overall Hammer Limburg crown and set up an exciting series finale.

It was Mitchelton-SCOTT who led the overall table heading the final race in Hong Kong, with Quick-Step Floors and BMC Racing Team in hot pursuit..

Quick-Step Floors took the victory at Hammer Limburg, the second Hammer race of 2018

Quick-Step Floors took the victory at Hammer Limburg, the second Hammer race of 2018

Hammer Hong Kong: Showdown Sunday

After two all-out races in Hammer Stavanger and Hammer Limburg, it all came down to “Showdown Sunday” at Hammer Hong Kong.

This one-day affair included two races on the stunning downtown street circuit - the Hammer Sprint and Hammer Chase.

Again it was Mitchelton-SCOTT and Quick-Step Floors battling for glory - the Belgian team were initially named winners of the Hammer Sprint, only for a review by race commissaires to name Mitchelton-SCOTT as victors.

In a thrilling Hammer Chase, the decisive race of the 2018 Hammer Series, the Australian team held off a determined challenge from their Belgian rivals.

In a sustained battle across five laps of the demanding 4.3km circuit, Mitchelton-SCOTT came home 18 seconds ahead of Philippe Gilbert and his Quick-Step team-mates.

Who will prove themselves to be cycling’s super team in 2019? Can Mitchelton-SCOTT do it again or will Deceuninck Quick-Step, CCC Team or Team Jumbo-Visma have the final say?

Find out as the Hammer Series returns to Stavanger (24-26 May), Limburg (7-9 June) and Hong Kong (12-13 October).