BMC Racing Team Returns to Hammer Series with Back to Back Races in 201827. February 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team returns to the start line of the Hammer Series in 2018 which will see teams battle for the title of best team in the world in back to back races in Stavanger, Norway from 25-27 May, and Limburg, Netherlands from 1-3 June.
Each race sees three days of intense competition, providing close-up thrills for cycling fans in an innovative team against team format designed for digital and broadcast viewing. Unlike traditional stage-based races in which individual riders take to the podium, the Hammer Series pits teams of five riders against each other over extremely testing courses to determine the best team.
Sports Director Jackson Stewart was behind the wheel at the inaugural race in Limburg in 2017, and will lead the team in Stavanger in 2018.
“I was very impressed with the Hammer Series in Limburg last year. It is a unique format like nothing I have every seen in cycling before. I think it is a step towards the future and could increase the sport’s popularity. What makes the Hammer Series so unique is that it is a very different style of racing than our usual calendar of races and it rewards a well-rounded team,” Stewart said.
“A new race is always difficult but, the particular format of the Hammer Series races adds a layer of difficulty we don’t face in any other race. Each stage is rather short, has points on specific laps and racing is always full gas. They are short and aggressive races with a lot of split second tactical racing throughout the stage, not just in the final. Then you finish this off with the Hammer Chase, which adds an additional level of excitement to the Team Time Trial event.”
Stefan Küng was one of the seven BMC Racing Team riders to race in 2017.
“The inaugural race in 2017 was pretty exciting. For us riders, it’s really hard racing. It’s short, really intense, and you have to be ready from the first moment. It’s exciting to watch because normally races are four hours or more, but at the Hammer Series it’s two or so hours and it reminds me a little of track racing which I used to do,” Küng explained.
“From a tactical stand point, as it counts as a team, not individual results, you really have to make sure that you cover all of the moves and always be at the front. A good result is only possible if you work really well together. At the end with the team time trial, it’s about pacing and relying on each other which is something we are good at. We really know how to race well together as a team which gives us an advantage.”
HAMMER SERIES: 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 3.
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.