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Hammer Limburg squeezed from calendar by Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Remco Evenepoel in action at the 2019 Hammer Limburg event.
Remco Evenepoel in action at the 2019 Hammer Limburg (Image credit: Getty Images)

The Hammer Limburg event will not take place in 2020 because of the changes to the UCI calendar on account of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. A Hammer Youth event will be held in its place in June, with the professional event due to return to the calendar in 2021.

The Hammer Series is a slate of team-based races organised by the Velon business group, which represents the commercial interests of 11 WorldTour teams. 

The first Hammer event was held in Limburg in 2017, and the series expanded the following year with events in Stavanger, Limburg and Hong Kong. Last month’s Hammer Hong Kong was cancelled due to the instability stemming from ongoing protests for wider democracy.

In 2020, the already busy June calendar is tighter than normal due to the Tokyo Olympics, which take place from July 24-August 9. The Tour de France gets underway earlier than normal, on June 27, which means that the Grand Départ comes just four weeks after the Giro d’Italia concludes on May 31.

The Critérium du Dauphiné, which usually starts a week after the end of the Giro, will instead start on May 31, while the Tour de Suisse will also a start a week earlier, on June 7. The ZLM Tour will take place from June 3-7.

For the past three years, Hammer Limburg has taken place on the weekend immediately following the Giro. In 2020, however, WorldTour squads will be fielding teams at both the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, which meant that it was unsuitable for the Hammer Series.

"Several options were evaluated to find a new date feasible for all parties, but unfortunately, it was not possible to secure suitable alternatives in 2020," Velon said in a statement released on Friday.

Hammer Limburg has taken place in Sittard-Geleen, and alderman Jos Bessems confirmed that municipality will host Hammer Youth in 2020 before welcoming elite women’s and elite men’s events in the Tom Dumoulin Bike Park in 2021.

"Despite the disappointment of not being able to see the best teams fighting it out in Hammer Limburg 2020, we’re excited about continuing the investment into Hammer Youth in 2020 and are already looking forward to being back with a men’s and women’s pro race in 2021," said Velon CEO Graham Bartlett.

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