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An aggressive Mitchelton-SCOTT take fourth place in the Hammer Climb at Hammer Stavanger

Fri 24 May 2019

Mitchelton-SCOTT took fourth place in the Hammer Climb event at Hammer Stavanger after an attacking start to racing in Norway.

The team consistently got riders in numerous moves off the front of the peloton, taking points over the climb on all but the final lap of the race.

Cagey Start

Despite several attempts to form a breakaway nothing stuck before the first passage of the climb, with veteran Michael Alabasini staying to the fore and grabbing 66 points over the line for third place. The Swiss rider was there again the next time over the climb, this time taking sixth.

The first break soon formed with Herald Sun Tour stage winner Nick Schultz and compatriot Rob Stannard making it into a 10-rider group off the front of the bunch. The duo stayed away and racked up points until lap six where double points were on offer at the line.

The group of 10 reduced by half over the course of the next lap with the remaining five riders caught by the chasing bunch at the foot of the climb. Despite being hauled back, Schultz put in one last effort to take fifth, one place ahead of Albasini in sixth.

Points Haul

With the break now caught a counter move was launched on the descent and Mitchelton-SCOTT had a rider in the move yet again with Albasini making it across. But with the laps ticking down the peloton were keen to bring back any attacks and the escapees were caught on the climb with Albasini holding on for points in seventh.

After staying tucked away in the bunch for most of the race it was Slovenian Luka Mezgec’s turn on the climb and he timed his kick perfectly to claim maximum points heading onto the final lap.

An attack then went clear over the top with the escapees staying clear to contest the double points on offer at the finish. Despite missing the move Mitchelton-SCOTT ended the day in fourth overall and will head into tomorrow’s Hammer Sprint race with 728 points.

Luka Mezgec:

“The plan for today was to ride aggressive, because in this kind of race you have to be on point, once you miss a move you are always on the chase and that’s much harder.”

“I wasn’t feeling good from the start because I missed a couple of days riding due to sickness. I still don’t feel 100% with my health, so I was trying to lay low for couple of laps, just to slowly get back in to the rhythm. Then on lap nine I said to myself 'I have to try at least one sprint', because our boys were riding so good until that point and suddenly, I found that my legs are actually pretty good.”

“Overall we did a good job on the first day, it’s going to be crucial tomorrow. Since we don’t have a pure sprinter we’ll have to be aggressive again and try our best.”

Hammer Climb Results:
1. Team Jumbo-Visma – 1065 points
2. Lotto Soudal – 928 points
3. BORA – Hansgrohe – 869 points
4. Mitchelton-SCOTT – 728 points

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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