Albasini and Affini rack-up the points in the Hammer Sprint at Hammer StavangerSat 25 May 2019
Mitchelton-SCOTT went on the offensive yet again at Hammer Stavanger as they finished third overall in the Hammer Sprint race.
With no pure sprinter in the team, chasing points was down to getting into moves off the front of the peloton and going on the attack throughout the race.
Attack, Attack, Attack
The opening lap came down to a bunch sprint with no time for a breakaway to be formed before the first passing off the line. Mitchelton-SCOTT didn’t contest the opening bunch kick and instead bided their time waiting for attacks with veteran Michael Albasini getting into a five rider move on lap two.
The Swiss rider managed to grab second on the line before the chasing group reeled the escapees back in. The high pace in the peloton caused a split in the pack and with a large group out the back, the fight for the remaining points was between those riders left in the front group, with neo-pro Edoardo Affini present alongside Albasini.
Not content to wait for the sprint Albasini again attempted to edge clear but as the 38-year-old was brought back as Affini went clear in a counter attack to take points on the line.
The attacks continued to roll out of the reduced bunch and Albasini was again involved, this time edging clear with four riders ahead of the sprint on lap six. Using his experience the 2018 Tour des Fjords winner timed his kick perfectly to take maximum points while Affini backed up behind in fourth.
The race then came back together before two riders broke away with three laps to go. The duo worked well together to stay clear until the finish while Affini attacked out of the chasing group to mop up points with two third places.
In the end Mitchelton-SCOTT rounded out the race in third place overall with 620 amassed by Affini and Albasini, meaning the squad will start in Group A for the Hammer Chase tomorrow.
"This was my first time in the Hammer Series and I can say now that it’s a super intense race that reminds me of a track points race, it’s really important to have both good legs and good tactics."
"I'm not a sprinter so the only way for me to help the team was by putting the guys in a good position for the sprint or by taking my chances in some attacks. In the end it was a really aggressive race full of attempts and counterattacks."
"Tomorrow for sure is going to be a challenging one, 48-kilometres with five guys is not easy, especially after two days full gas like we’ve had so far, but we have a good team and I'm sure will try to give our best!"
Hammer Sprint Results:
1. Deceuninck - Quick Step – 794 points
2. Team Sunweb – 738 points
3. Mitchelton-SCOTT – 620 points
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.