Hammer Series: The format explained

The Hammer Series is a revolutionary new cycling format, but what is it and how does it work? 

Hammer Series in a nutshell

The Hammer Series a four-day cycling event and the first edition was held in Limburg, in the Netherlands, from June 1-4 2017. The inaugural Hammer Stavanger took place in May 2018, and the second Hammer Limburg in June 2018. The third and final Hammer Series event of 2018 is Hammer Hong Kong, a special one-off 

The Hammer Sprint should be a fast and frenetic race (Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images)

Is it the same as a stage race?

No. While traditional cycling races have individual riders as stage and classification winners, the Hammer Series is all about teams. 

The Hammer Climb and Hammer Sprint are points races in which riders will attempt to win points for their team. 

Each team’s finishing positions from days one and two will then be combined to determine their starting place on day three’s Hammer Chase, a team time trial in which the first team over the line will be crowned Hammer Series champions.

The Hammer Climb takes place on a demanding circuit (Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images)

So how does the Hammer Climb work?

It takes place over 11 laps of a 7km circuit containing two short climbs. On every lap, the first 10 riders over the finish line will earn the following points for their teams: 10, 8.1, 6.6, 5.3, 4.3, 3.5, 2.8, 2.3, 1.9 and 1.5. Double points will be awarded on laps three, seven and 11.

The team with the most points will win the Hammer Climb, and the top 10 teams will be given the following bonus seconds: 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. These will count towards their starting position in the Hammer Chase.

The Hammer Sprint takes place on a 12.4km circuit (Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images)

And the Hammer Sprint?

It takes places over eight laps of a flat 12.4km circuit. The first 10 riders to cross the line at the end of each lap will earn points for their teams (10, 8.1, 6.6, 5.3, 4.3, 3.5, 2.8, 2.3, 1.9 and 1.5), with double points available on laps two, five and eight.

The team with the most points will win the Hammer Sprint, and the top 10 teams will receive 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 bonus seconds for the Hammer Chase.

The Hammer Chase is a team time trial (Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images)

And finally, the Hammer Chase?

This is the decisive race. It is a team time trial taking place over three laps of a 14.9km course.

The 16 participating teams will be ranked by adding together their positions in the first two races, with the lowest total being the top team.

For safety, they will then be split into two groups: the top eight will go into Group 1, and bottom eight will go into Group 2. Teams in Group 1 can challenge for both victory in the Hammer Chase and overall Hammer Series victory. Teams in Group 2 can challenge for the Hammer Chase win, but not overall victory.

Teams in each group will set off at fixed time intervals decided by their ranking, plus the time bonuses they picked up. The fixed time intervals are as follows:

- Position 1: First to start
- Position 2: +30”
- Position 3: +55”
- Position 4: +1’15”
- Position 5: +1’30”
- Position 6: +1’45”
- Position 7: +2’00”
- Position 8: +2’15”

So if the team in Position 1 accrued 25 bonus seconds in the first two races, and the team in Position 2 accrued 20 bonus seconds, they will start 35 seconds apart.

The team who complete the time trial in the fastest time will be winners of the Hammer Chase.

The team who cross the finish line first in Group 1 will be crowned Hammer Series champions. 

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