Mitchelton-SCOTT begin Hammer Series title defence in Stavanger

Mon 20 May 2019

Defending champions Mitchelton-SCOTT return to the Hammer Series on Friday looking to kick-off of their title defence in style at Hammer Stavanger.

Veteran Michael Albasini will return to the unique racing format after being part of the team that dominated in Stavanger last season. Slovenian Luka Mezgec also tasted success at the Hammer Series in 2018 when he hepled secure the overall title at Hammer Hong Kong.

Australian Alex Edmonson will make his comeback to racing alongside Herald Sun Tour stage winner Nick Schultz, with both boasting previous Hammer Series experience. Three neo-pros, Edoardo Affini, Rob Stannard and Callum Scotson will complete the squad, with the trio set to get their first taste of the event.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Edoardo Affini (ITA, 22)
Michael Albasini (SUI, 38)
Alex Edmonson (AUS, 25)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 30)
Nick Schultz (AUS, 24)
Callum Scotson (AUS, 22)
Rob Stannard (AUS, 20)

The Course

The unique racing concept was launched in 2017 by Velon, with each day focusing on a specific cycling discipline where riders will collect points for their teams.

The three days of racing begins with the Hammer Climb race over a short hilly circuit. Riders will earn points for their team depending on their position when they cross the line on each lap, with the team finishing with the highest points total declared the winner. Day two will see the teams move onto the Hammer Sprint event which uses the same points scoring format as the Hammer Climb race on a similarly short, but flat, course.

The racing concludes with the Hammer Chase race. In this event the leading team after the first two days of racing starts first while the other teams will set off at fixed time intervals decided by their ranking based on the previous days' racing. The team which crosses the finish line first will be the winner of the race.

The Past

Micthelton-SCOTT dominated the first ever Hammer Stavanger event in 2018, taking victory in all three disciplines. Albasini racked up the majority of the points in the Hammer Climb race with the team finishing with more than double the points of the second placed team. Another impressive showing in the Hammer Sprint saw the squad maintain the top spot as they took victory once more before capping off the three days with another win in the Hammer Chase.

Laurenzo Lapage (Sports Director):
“You can compare this type of racing more to a track race, it’s really short. In a stage race, if you do something wrong you have the next day to try and make up for it, but with the Hammer Series, if you lose the points, you lose the points. It’s so important that in the first two days we are in the best possible position to start the team time trial race on the final day.”

“We have a different team to last year, we have some younger guys this year, but I think for them it’s a chance to stand up and to show that the team can win again. We have a lot of experience with this type of racing now, Luka and Alba who have won these races in the past.”

“It’s always important to have experienced guys in the team, I think the younger guys can learn a lot from them, not only by asking them but also by watching them and seeing how they do things.”

Hammer Stavanger Race details:
Friday, 24th May: Hammer Climb, Stavanger, 9.5 laps of 8.9km - 84.5km
Saturday, 25th May: Hammer Sprint, Stavanger, 9.5 laps of 9.3km – 88.5km
Sunday, 26th May: Hammer Chase, Stavanger, 3 laps of 16.3km - 48.9km

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.