Mitchelton-SCOTT recover to take third overall at Hammer Stavanger after a thrilling Hammer ChaseSun 26 May 2019
Mitchelton-SCOTT recovered from an early mechanical to take third place overall at Hammer Stavanger after a thrilling finale to the Hammer Chase.
Starting as the third team on the road, 58-seconds down on leaders Team Jumbo-Visma, the team’s hopes of hauling back the time deficit was dealt a massive blow when Australian Alex Edmonson suffered a mechanical.
Despite the setback, the five-man squad regrouped and powered their way back into podium contention, eventually holding on for third overall in a tense final.
After claiming victory in the same event in 2018, the team were confident of putting in a big performance in the team time trial format as they looked to close a almost a one minute advantage to the first team off the start.
However, their chances of achieving that feet were scuppered inside the opening three kilometres when Edmonson suffered a mechanical and was forced to change bikes. The remaining four riders continued on before slowing up to allow the 25-year-old back on, but the delay saw Deceuninck - Quick Step come past on the road, relegating Mitchelton-SCOTT to fourth overall.
After taking some time to regroup, the squad kept Deceuninck - Quick Step in sight and as the race moved onto the final lap they were in touching distance of the Belgian outfit. The pass was soon made, and the team moved back into third on the road, but there was now a threat from behind with Team Ineos and CCC Team closing in.
With Team Jumbo-Visma out front and Team Sunweb safely in second place, the fight was on for the final spot on the podium. Heading into the final 10-kilometres, four teams were within 15-seconds of one another, with Mitchelton-SCOTT holding a slender advantage on the chasing teams behind.
There was then chaos when CCC Team, Team Ineos and Deceuninck - Quick Step merged inside the closing kilometres, with Mitchelon-SCOTT digging deep one last time to salvage an unlikely third place.
“Edmo had a mechanical really soon after the start so we immediately decided to wait for him because it was way too long to go with only four riders.”
“We didn’t panic, we got back into the rhythm when Edmo re-joined and we stuck with the initial plan, set a nice tempo and then on the last lap we really went full. Laurenzo (Lapage) was updating us with gaps behind so we knew where we really had to speed up to stay clear and where we could recover for the last dig on the final uphill drag.”
“I think overall, we can be happy with our performance, taking in to account Edmo’s mechanical this was the maximum result we could get today.”
Laurenzo Lapage (Sports Director):
"The moment we had the mechanical it was only three kilometres into the race, so we had to wait, with four guys you can’t make it round and Edmo was an important part of the team too."
"I think the boys did really, really well, we had Deceuninck - Quick Step come past us and I told the guys not to try and pass them immediately and to just get back into our rhythm. Then on the last lap they did a great job. I think without the mechanical we could have been second and who knows, maybe even first because we lost around 45-seconds."
"Before the start we said: ‘let’s go and do our race’ and then at the end we will talk about time gaps. We didn’t panic and we kept something back until the last lap and then we went full at the end."
Hammer Stavanger 2019 Final Standings:
1. Team Lotto-Jumbo
2. Team Sunweb
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.