Hammer Series 2017
The Hammer Series was announced by Velon earlier this year as an attempt to spice cycling up with a new format of racing. The three-day event will focus on the team effort with the best team taking home the victory. There will only be one event in 2017, but organisers hope to increase that in the coming seasons.
All 10 of the Velon teams will be in action with Bahrain-Merida and Movistar boosting the WorldTour team tally. Four Pro Continental teams - Israel Cycling Academy, Nippo Vini Fantini, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Roompot- Nederlandse Loterij - will take part, bringing the total number of participating teams to 16. There will be six riders in each line-up and the likes of Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) set to take part.
Velon hopes to test the teams over a number of different parcours with a climber's course opening up the weekend's action on the Friday, followed by a sprint on Saturday and a team time trial (or chase) event closing things out on Sunday. The Hammer Climb route is a seven-kilometre course that takes the riders over two ascents that add up to almost half of the lap at 3.1km, with the bunch completing seven laps. The race takes place in Vaals close to the border with Belgium and Germany.
Day two is the Hammer Sprint and the riders will return to the host city of Sittard-Geleen where they complete eight laps of the 12.4km circuit. As the name suggests, the event should end up with a bunch sprint. Finally is the Hammer Chase, a team time trial/ team pursuit style event. It will take place over an almost identical route to the previous day's sprint competition with an additional excursion tacked onto the second half of the course. The team at the top of the standings after the first two days will set off first with the gaps between each team the same as those in the classification. The aim will be the first team to cross the finish line with the victor on day three crowned the overall winner.