In one month, Cannondale-Drapac will line up at the start of a new initiative by Velon: the Hammer Series. Three days of racing, three disciplines and 15 teams competing for the honour of best team in the world. The series begins the first weekend of June at Sportzone Limburg in the Netherlands.
Five riders out of a selection of seven will enter the daily races. The Hammer Sprint race on Friday opens the event. It’s followed by the Hammer Climb race on Saturday.
The third and final day is perhaps the most innovative. The Hammer Chase race is run pursuit-style: the leading team overall has a head-start with other teams chasing in increments. It’s the reverse of what you usually see with time trials, where the leader finishes last. Here the teams start according to their position and time gaps in the overall, which are determined based on team performance and not individual standings.
Run this way, the first team over the line is the winner of the event, earning the best team title.
“I think its a really positive step. It’s not often that you get the chance to re-imagine something, and the Hammer Series is an attempt to do that with the sport,” said sports director Tom Southam, who will lead the team in June.
“There has been a lot of thought put in to creating the action in races that can often appear to be (and often really be) missing. The series has created races that demand constant attention and that can be really refreshing. And if people don’t get on board they have to remember what the Buddha said, ‘the only thing constant in life is change’. Think about it.”
Southam embraces the new approach the new initiative require.
“I have spent a bit of time studying the rules and getting my head around what is important,” he said. “For a DS it is quite refreshing to be challenged with having to work a whole new game out and then get the riders’ heads around it, too. It’ll be really interesting to see this thing on the ground.”
Hammer Climb – Friday June 2, 3-5:15PM CET (7-9:15AM MDT)
Hammer Sprint – Saturday June 3, 3:15-5:15PM CET (7:15-9:15AM MDT)
Hammer Chase – Sunday June 4, 3-5:15PM (7-9:15AM MDT)
Cannondale-Drapac for Hammer Series Sportzone Limburg:
Patrick Bevin (NZL)
Will Clarke (AUS)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Tom Scully (NZL)
Tom-Jelte Slagter (NDL)
Sep Vanmarcke (BEL)
Wouter Wippert (NDL)