Kluge comes to the fore for ORICA-SCOTT in the Hammer SprintSat 3 Jun 2017
Grand Tour stage winner Roger Kluge rode himself into the ground for ORICA-SCOTT at today’s second Hammer Series event the Hammer Sprint, winning maximum sprint points on lap six and ensuring the team are still in with a shout on tomorrow’s final day of racing.
As expected the race started at a hellish pace and never let up, Kluge was up there early for ORICA-SCOTT as he formed part of a seven rider breakaway that went on to contest the first two laps.
An unfortunate crash on lap three took Caleb Ewan out of the race with the Giro d’Italia stage winner suffering some quite nasty road rash, but thankfully no serious injury.
Trek-Segafredo won today’s stage with ORICA-SCOTT in tenth place after strong performances from Kluge, Mitch Docker, Alex Edmondson and Michael Hepburn.
“It was a really tough race” said Kluge back at the team bus. “Extremely hard and fast racing, the sprinters teams made it very chaotic and it took a lot of concentration and work to maintain a good position.”
“Of course it was difficult after we lost Caleb and had to start chasing hard to get something out of the race and make sure we were in the points to give ourselves a chance of competing tomorrow. Thankfully we managed to do that.”
Gaps were opening and closing throughout the day and sport director Matt Wilson praised the dogged effort of the team as countless times they made the bridge across to the leaders to stay in contact at the front.
“Very hectic race today,” said Wilson. “It was on all day from the start to the finish, the first few laps were especially chaotic. Obviously huge bad luck for us to lose Caleb early on, when you lose your main guy for this stage so early it puts you in a bad position, but the team picked up and did a good job.”
“Roger in particular rode very well, maximum points on lap six and we were fifth going into the final two circuits. We didn’t score any points on those last two laps, but the good news is we finished seventh in the overall standings which means we get to play for the win tomorrow.
“The starting positions are important for the Hammer Chase tomorrow, we are in the first half and around two minutes behind the leaders, so there is still quite a bit of traffic to get through, but we will give it our best shot and I’m sure it’s going to be a special race.”
How it happened:
A hot and sticky Saturday afternoon at the newly constructed Sportzone Limburg saw a super fast and hectic start to the second Hammer Series event, the Hammer Sprint.
The race split early with Kluge forming part of a seven-rider group off the front over the first two laps and ensuring ORICA-SCOTT were amongst the points straight away.
An unfortunate crash on lap three ended the race for Ewan as the young Australian sprinter fell heavily on his side and abandoned, thankfully without serious injury.
The pace remained insanely high throughout with average speeds over 50kph and the peloton split all over the road.
Kluge and ORICA-SCOTT continued to work hard with the big German crossing the line first on lap six to score maximum points for the team.
The final two circuits were frantic, but the Australian outfit did enough to ensure 10th on the day and more importantly seventh place on the grid for the final event the Hammer Chase and stay in with a chance of a result.
Hammer Sprint results:
1. Trek-Segafredo – 70.7pts
2. Lotto-Soudal – 60.9pts
3. Cannondale-Drapac – 59.6pts
10. ORICA-SCOTT – 23.1pts
Overall standings after Hammer Sprint:
1. Team-Sunweb - 7pts
2. Team-Sky – 7pts
3. Lotto-Soudal – 11pts
4. ORICA-SCOTT – 14pts
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com