Mitchelton-Scott takes lead in Hammer Stavanger
May 26 2018 12:57 am CET

Mitchelton-Scott takes lead in Hammer Stavanger
Mitchelton-Scott takes lead in Hammer Stavanger

The Australian Mitchelton-Scott team has won the first challenge of the Hammer Stavanger, the Hammer Climb. Michael Albasini collected most of the WorldTour squad's points, riding in front of the race most of the day with Antwan Tolhoek, who secured a third place for LottoNL-Jumbo. Team Sunweb finished second.

After last year’s inaugural Hammer Series in Limburg, the Netherlands, Velon's Hammer concept expanded to three races this year. The first of these started today in Stavanger, Norway, with the Hammer Climb. The riders had to race nine and a half laps of an 8.5 km circuit, with points being awarded at the end of every lap. The first 10 riders over the finish line earned points for their teams: 100, 81, 66, 53, 43, 35, 28, 23, 19 and 15. Double points were awarded at the end of laps 3, 6 and 10.

A peloton consisting of 14 teams of 5 riders started the race, and Gianni Moscon put Team Sky in front by taking the maximum points in a sprint uphill in the first round, ahead of Trek-Segafredo's Michael Gogl. Antwan Tolhoek escaped in lap 2, giving his LottoNL-Jumbo team the maximum points.

In the third lap, with double points, home rider Sven Bystrom took the maximum points for UAE Emirates. The Norwegian finished ahead of a Mitchelton-Scott duo Michael Albasini and Daryl Impey. Albasini went solo after the sprint. Two Dutchman bridged the gap, Tolhoek and Dennis van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy). The Swiss veteran won the sprint, ahead of Tolhoek and Van Winden.

By now Mitchelton-Scott had a solid advantage in the overall standings, having 267 points more than BMC in second place. Van Winden got dropped after the sprint and Tolhoek and Albasini continued with the two of them. They had an advantage of about half a minute to a chasing group of about 15 riders. Albasini again beat Tolhoek on the next sprint. James Knox (Quick-Step) was third, winning the sprint of the chasing group. Daryl Impey strengthened Mitchelton-Scott's lead, with a sixth place.

Despite the duo up front almost being caught at the 5th sprint, they soon had a minute advantage back to the chasing group again. The peloton, that looked out of play already, then came back to the chasing group, with the sprint for double points coming up. Albasini again took the maximum points, ahead of Tolhoek, as Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) took third place. Counter-attacks were flying from the peloton, but since all of them were closed down the advantage of the leading duo remained stable. At the next sprint Albasini took the points once more ahead of his Dutch companion. The Swiss leader's teammate Lucas Hamilton took third place.

In lap 8 the leaders switched roles, as Tolhoek took the points ahead of the Swiss Tour des Fjords winner. Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto-Soudal) was first of the peloton to reach the line. In lap 9 the leaders were caught. Despite all his efforts in the break, Albasini took second place in lap 9, ahead of Knox, but just behind Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb). The Dane from Sunweb went on solo with his teammate Simon Geschke protecting him in the chase group. Andersen took the double points on the finish line, ahead of Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott) and Bagioli.

Overall Mitchelton-Scott gathered most points today, with more than double the points of runner-up Team Sunweb. Tomorrow the Hammer Stavanger continues with the Hammer Sprint.

By Siebe Kok




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