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Dynamite Durbridge mops up the points for ORICA-SCOTT on the Hammer Climb

Fri 2 Jun 2017

A strong team effort from ORICA-SCOTT on day one of the inaugural Hammer Series saw Australian Luke Durbridge produce a commanding performance at the front of the race to ensure fourth place ahead of the next two days of competition.

Each team was out to gain as many points as possible with no individual award on offer and all accumulated points going towards the standings on the final day of racing.

A fast and furious start to the 80kilometre race never relented as the field split into three groups after the first lap with Durbidge pushing a massive gear to stay in the lead group and keep ORICA-SCOTT in the points.

“It’s a little bit like a points race,” said Durbridge at the finish. “I used to ride the track a lot and I used to love the points race. It is obviously quite a different style of racing knowing that whoever wins the final sprint is not the winner, but I think it’s good.”

“It was full gas for two hours and very hard racing, there was certainly no element of exhibition about it. You put a finish line in front of bike riders and the competitive streak is going to come to the fore and everyone is going to race hard for that line.”

Hard racing is certainly what we saw and thanks to the high positioning of Durbridge ORICA-SCOTT go into second day of racing in fourth place in the standings with Movistar the leaders after today’s Hammer Climb.

“On paper it was our weakest stage today,” said sport director Matt Wilson. “We were hoping to get some points and finish the day in a decent position and the boys really rode out of their skin, especially Durbo. He’s had a long break since Paris-Roubaix and didn’t know how he was going to be feeling, but he was super today.”

“It was hard to match up against those guys in the sprints over the top of the climbs, but he scored consistent points every lap and we are in a good position now.

“We are looking forward tomorrow, it’s the stage that most suits our characteristics and Caleb Ewan did well to finish today to make sure those points count in the Hammer Sprint tomorrow, it could be a really messy stage and for sure it’s going to be super fast.

“All in all I think it was a really positive experience and we saw some very exciting racing, both from the point of view of the riders and the fans alike, I’m sure it’s only going to get bigger and better from here on in.”

How it happened:

A sunny afternoon in Limburg welcomed the riders to the start of the first day of the revolutionary Hammer Series, with the Hammer Climb the first of three circuit based days of racing.

A fast and challenging parcours made up of eleven laps of a seven-kilometre circuit that included short, but sharp ramps with gradients of around 8% coming in the middle and closing sections of each lap.

The speed of the race was relentless it began explosively and never slowed down. The peloton split on the second lap and many riders never recovered with Durbridge hitting the front for ORICA-SCOTT and staying there alongside riders from Movistar, Team-Sky and Team-Sunweb.

The course criss-crossed the point where Belgium, Germany and Holland meet and the short climbs proved to be challenging, with road captain Mathew Hayman working hard in the peloton alongside Mitch Docker and Alex Edmondson.

ORICA-SCOTT managed to maintain their position throughout the race and held onto fourth at the finish.

Carlos Betancur crossed the line first for Movistar at the end with Durbridge in third and doubling the points gained for the Australian outfit ahead of tomorrows Hammer Sprint.

Hammer Climb results:

1. Movistar - 144.8 pts +15 bonus

2. Team Sunweb - 98.9 pts +12 bonus

3. Team-Sky – 84.7 pts +10 bonus

4. ORICA-SCOTT - 83.3 pts +8 bonus

Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

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