The organisers of the Hammer Series events have announced a third race for 2018, with a one-day event on Sunday October 14 to be held alongside the successful Hong Kong Cyclothon mass-participation event.
The 2018 Hammer Series will include the second edition of the Hammer Limburg in the Netherlands (June 1-13) and the first edition of the Hammer Stavanger in Norway (May 25-27). The Hammer Series was created by the Velon group of major teams who are have joined forces to find addition sources of revenue, and take on the historic race organisers, who control the sport. Velon also produce in-race rider data and on-board video content and negotiates team participation for some races.
Team Sky, BMC, EF Education First-Drapac, Quick-Step Floors, Team Sunweb and Trek-Segafredo are all part of the 11 Velon teams, with Dimension Data, Cofidis and Israel Cycling Academy amongst seven other teams that recently became partners. Velon agreed a ten-year partnership with sports marketing company Infront, who is organising the Hammer Series. Infront is owned by the Chinese Wanda Group that also organises the Tour of Guangxi (October 16-21).
All the Velon teams have committed to backing the Hammer Series despite the events often clashing with other established major races. The Hammer Hong Kong event will be held 24 hours after Il Lombardia brings the curtain down on the European season.
"We're delighted to bring the Hammer Series to Hong Kong for a spectacular finish to the 2018 series," Velon CEO Graham Bartlett said. "We couldn't ask for better partners than the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Sun Hung Kai Properties to bring a fantastic race alive for the fans in Hong Kong and internationally. The teams are all really up for a big finish."
The Hammer Series is different to traditional racing because it is based on a team-versus-team format, rather than individual riders and time, with Sprint, Climb and Chase races. The format caused some confusion amongst riders and fans last year but Team Sky managed to win the first ever Hammer Series event in the Netherlands by dominating the final team time trial.
The exact format of the one-off race day in Hong Kong will be revealed in the coming weeks, though the race organisers promise it will "offer a high octane, "All Out" finish to the Hammer racing for 2018."