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Hammer Sportzone Limburg
« on: May 29, 2017, 08:32 »
Hammer Sportzone Limburg[1]

The Hammer Series’ premiere race – Hammer Sportzone Limburg – will take place 1st to 4th June, at Sportzone Limburg, Sittard-Geleen in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands, licenced by Extra Leisure BV. It’s a region that’s steeped in cycling tradition, having hosted the most famous Classics and stages of the Grand Tours, and will start the Hammer Series in style, pitting the teams against a punishing climbing circuit on the Vaalserberg.

In Limburg, as at each Hammer Series event, the professional teams race is the centrepiece of a 4-day long festival of cycling that will include mass participation activities for youth and adults, a fan village, cycling expo, community projects, entertainment, and more.

Hammer Series is all about the team. In a revolutionary format, Hammer Series will crown the world's best pro cycling team with three different challenges across three unforgettable days: the Hammer Sprint, Hammer Climb and Hammer Chase. In selected cities around the world, each Hammer Series event will test the strength in depth of every team. The strongest team will be crowned the best in the world.


Those 16 teams are:
  • #bahrain Team Bahrain Merida
  • #bmc BMC Racing Team
  • #cannondale Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
  • #lotto Lotto Soudal
  • #movistar Movistar Team
  • #orica ORICA-SCOTT
  • #quickstep Quick-Step Floors Pro Cycling
  • #jumbo Team Lotto NL-Jumbo
  • #sky Team Sky
  • #sunweb Team Sunweb
  • #trek Trek-Segafredo
  • #uae UAE Team Emirates
  • #cajarural Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
  • #academy Israel Cycling Academy
  • #nippo Nippo-Vini Fantini
  • #roompot Team Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij

Day 1: Hammer Climb


The rolling hills of Vaals makes it the perfect place for Friday’s 7 km Hammer Climb circuit to take place. Teams must overcome a double ascent each lap, covering a distance of 3.1km in total, making it a challenging course to earn points on, typical of the province’s classics terrain.
  • Circuit Length: 7km
  • Number of Laps: 11
  • Ascent (per lap): 162m
  • 2 climbs per lap
  • Climb 1 Length: 900m
  • Climb 1 Ascent: 38m
  • Climb 1 Max Gradient: 8.1%
  • Climb 2 Length: 2,200m
  • Climb 2 Ascent: 105m
  • Climb 2 Max Gradient: 8.5%

The Hammer Climb is a points race taking place over 11 laps of a 7km course containing two climbs. The start/finish is positioned just after the top of the second climb and points will be awarded to the first 10 teams to get a rider across the line at the end of each lap. Double points are available on laps three, seven and 11. The winners of the race will be the team with the most points, and the top 10 will all receive bonus seconds – descending from 15 seconds for first place to one second for 10th. These will contribute to each team’s starting position in the Hammer Chase on Day 3.

Day 2: Hammer Sprint


The Hammer Sprint is another points race, this time taking place over eight laps. Once again, points will be awarded to the first 10 teams to get a rider over the line at the end of each lap, with double points on offer on laps two, five and eight. The race winners will be the team with the most points, and the top 10 will again receive descending bonus seconds that will contribute to their starting position in the Hammer Chase on Day 3.

Saturday’s Hammer Sprint will take place in the host city of Sittard-Geleen, starting in Sportzone Limburg before taking in a 12.4km loop on the city’s extremely fast roads, with beautiful open surroundings, before returning to the start/finish hub of Sportzone Limburg near the city centre. The fans will be watching eagerly from the stands to see who wins the points, and the atmosphere is sure to be electric.

  • Start/finish: Sittard-Geleen, SportZone Limburg
  • Circuit Length: 12.4km
  • Number of Laps: 8
  • Ascent (per lap): 47m

Day 3: Hammer Chase


After both point race Days comes the decider: the Hammer Chase, a 50km team time trial with a twist. Teams start in the same order as the leaderboard after the first two days of racing, with the leading team going off first. After a fixed time period, they’re then chased by the second placed team, who are in turn shortly pursued by the third placed team and so on to deliver a gripping chase to the line; the time gaps between teams are based on fixed time gaps per position and bonus time gained during Days 1 and 2.

The Hammer Chase makes use of extended version of the course used for the Hammer Sprint – at 14.9km long – as the teams battle it out in Sunday’s deciding race, and whichever team crosses the line first secures the Hammer Race victory, earning points towards the Hammer Series. The overall winner at the end of the Hammer Series earns the ultimate bragging rights as the best team in the world: Cycling’s Superteam. Proven.

  • Start/finish: Sittard-Geleen, SportZone Limburg
  • Circuit Length: 14.9km
  • Number of Laps: 3
  • Ascent (per lap): 56m

All three days will be broadcasted live on Facebook and Youtube

 1. Source of all text: hammerseries.com/
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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 09:48 »
    and always remember:

    https://twitter.com/ArdillasSubidas/status/869112040727642112

    so maybe just choose one of those instead:





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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 13:44 »
    https://hammerseries.com/news/hammer-series-format-explained/

    So they have created a point scoring system that should take a very bizzarre set of results for teams to end up tied at the end of The Hammer Sprint or Hammer Climb unless of course teams score nothing at all. However will teams start the hammer chase together if they were to say both claim victory in one and second in the other so both have 3 points and 27 bonus seconds?
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 16:52 »
    As well as being on social media, the coverage will be shown on networks in the following countries:

    Europe

    Denmark - TV2

    Germany - Sport 1

    Greece - Action 24

    Italy - Bike Channel

    Netherlands - NOS, L1

    Turkey - NTV Spor

    UK - Bike Channel
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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 18:12 »
    Day 3: Hammer Chase

    Do nobody else see the potential for problems with TTT trains trying to overtake each other? Imagine three or four teams in close proximity - it could be khaos.
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 18:26 »
    Do nobody else see the potential for problems with TTT trains trying to overtake each other? Imagine three or four teams in close proximity - it could be khaos.

    I did a few quick sums about this this afternoon. The gap between teams on the road when they start at 15 second intervals will be something like 100 to 125 metres and when up to full speed the gap between the teams at 15 seconds will be about 200 to 250 metres. In that gap I presume you will need a lead motor bike in front of each team, at least one camera bike following each team and at least one team car for each team. It won't take a lot for some of the teams and the other vehicles associated with them to catch up or be caught by those in front or behind them.

    Edit to add:

    With how the points and time bonuses are awarded there are actually scenarios where the starting gap will even be less than 15 seconds between teams.
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  • « Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 19:05 by Carlo Algatrensig »

    LukasCPH

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 18:39 »
    However will teams start the hammer chase together if they were to say both claim victory in one and second in the other so both have 3 points and 27 bonus seconds?
    Why would anyone want to figure out details like this when they can HYPE THE HYPE!?

    Do nobody else see the potential for problems with TTT trains trying to overtake each other? Imagine three or four teams in close proximity - it could be khaos.
    This is a Velon event, obviously all riders, staff & spectators will behave flawlessly, and there will not be any problems what-so-ever.



    flip this. I'm not watching.
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    t-72

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #7 on: May 29, 2017, 21:02 »
    This is way off topic but here I go :  :S
    I am not watching Hammer Series either but it seems this stuff will replace (part of) tour des fjords next year. Tinkoff was right about maybe only one thing: pro cycling's business model need an overhaul. The teams need other and more stable funding sources than rich uncles that last about 5 years on average. I am not saying they should go away, but they should be supplemented some alternative. The hammer series reminds me a little bit about the X-C skiing makeover some years back, and I am not sure cycling needs that.

    When XC-skiing world cup was reformed a couple of years back, it was about making the sport more "TV friendly". Races used to go on forest paths packed for skiing in the winter, the racers would start in the Arena, maybe appear once in the middle, disappear, come back for the finish. In fact, one of Norwegian TV sport's defining moments is a camera pointed at the woods in Oslo. Waiting to see if a X-C skier would appear early enough to win. From the point where he appeared to the finish line it is usually a minute or two. Races could last for many hours, depending on conditions.

    Now most events are settled rather quickly, most events are under the hour with the 50 km of course lasting a little longer. The courses go round and round more or less in the arena itself or in the immediate vicinity. Fixed cameras are all around. This is "television friendly" skiing. (Pro tip: swap skis for wheels and add a few obstacles with some mud and you have invented.... cyclocross!)

    However, that was TV-friendly then and not necessarily now. Slow TV is on a slow rise as it is not just TV, it goes on all platforms at once, and it is a viewing experience which invites interactions - social media friendly. So, here we are. We've been following a bunch of guys cycling around Italy for a month. Day after day, hour after hour. We've had our discussions (on toilet habits, police motorcycles, when to attack on a climb and so on). I know all the commercials by heart now, even if I deliberatley skipped those breaks as often as I could (but nothing beats the Tour of Azerbaidjan jingle, it takes 10 days to forget it).  I know about Mediolanum and Engie, and I think I need a new road bike this year (old one is 5..almost 6 and that's more than half the way to 10!)

    I am not so sure there's anything more TV friendly than Grand Tours? Isn't this an adaptation to  media reality anno 2000? That's 17 years ago now!

    PS: In X-C skiing the introduction of the "Tour de Ski" was part of the package. Go figure where that idea comes from and why they adapted it.

     
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  • cj2002

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #8 on: May 31, 2017, 09:21 »
    Movistar are taking the Hammer Series so seriously, Carlos Betancur is in the line-up!  :lol :lol :lol

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    Ram

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #9 on: May 31, 2017, 11:40 »

    I am not so sure there's anything more TV friendly than Grand Tours? Isn't this an adaptation to  media reality anno 2000? That's 17 years ago now!

    On slow TV-
    Slow TV is a gamble right now that mainly state broadcasters can take, which Norway has pioneered. From what I've read about slow TV, and I work in the field so not just random googling, is that recall might be an issue. It makes sense, as it's there on the background, not the focus of full attention at any moment.

    So, how well does slow tv lend itself to advertising? By it's very nature, it's not something that I'd be too fond of with multiple interruptions for ads. In shot ads? Maybe, but such placement is minor revenue wise in comparison to proper ads. Goes back to the point about a gamble that state broadcasters can take, a luxury that sporting events can't afford. Secondly, any sport requires full attention at some key points. I can see where the comparison comes from, but don't see it as like for like.

    Regardless, outside Norway, it's still very niche.

    On Hammer itself-
    Hammer isn't targeting grand tours and classics. Those races have historic backing which is far more than any new fangled promotion can match. It's beyond that collection of 8 races, and targeting the others races which do lack a lot of context.

    On the face of it, it seems an attempt to spruce up a sport which quite often is too similar. Golf 6s did this wonderfully successfully this season, and it was met with so much scepticism that the London edition didn't even have a title sponsor.

    Taking an alternate line of thought, they're adapting road cycling to the roots of cycling, before road cycling took primacy. Back to closed sections (ticketed entries for stadia), back to short snappy races among big names (in the future rather than now). I'm going to give this a chance, but think that there is even more scope for innovation and "matchplay" situations between riders, particularly the big names.
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    Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    t-72

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #11 on: May 31, 2017, 20:00 »
    It is a cyclocross-like setup isn't it? (Without obstacles, but the idea of concentrating the action on a rather small area?)
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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #12 on: May 31, 2017, 20:11 »
     Seems logical.
     A synthetic road for synthetic racing.
     To add an extra touch of authenticity, the could park a couple of flagged out camper vans at the top of the climb.
     Could also come in handy if Tom Dumpulin has another emergency. :D
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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #13 on: May 31, 2017, 20:30 »
    It is a cyclocross-like setup isn't it? (Without obstacles, but the idea of concentrating the action on a rather small area?)

    seems to be, lower TV costs as well, Charge spectators etc
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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #14 on: May 31, 2017, 20:39 »
    Some interesting discussion here. I haven't followed the business side of cycling much recently so this Hammer stuff is all a bit of a surprise.

    With regards to attracting new fans to the sport, it seems to me they have got it entirely back to front, opting for artificial complicatedness over organic complexity. That is, with a classic the basic concept is incredibly simple: cross the line first. The rest of the stuff - race tactics, teamwork, rider abilities, team strengths, form - you learn along the way, but you can learn it piece by piece. All you need to get hooked is that initial knowledge of the goal.

    With Hammer, the work is very much front-loaded. Ultimately all you are ever going to see in any form of bike racing is people riding bikes, so for it to be in any way compelling you really have to understand what they are trying to do. Take the track WC, I watched a bit of it with my partner, who doesn't particularly like cycling (or maths). She couldn't get on with the points race, but elimination had her hooked because the basic concept can be explained pretty much in one sentence and then you just get into it.

    It just staggers me that cycling feels the need to innovate itself away from just the pure joy of riding a bike faster than other people. If someone watches bike racing, they have to want to see that on some level. No amount of bells and whistles will ever make cycling a similar viewing experience to football. Feel like the attitude of "grow grow grow, standing still is weakness" is taking a hold here, but maybe I'm being too curmudgeonly.

    On team funding T-72 made a good point re: rich uncle syndrome and the instability of the funding after they get bored. I worry that it goes deeper than just the instability into a "crowding out" effect. Trade teams care about getting their name out there - a steady drip drip of placings in the majors and wins in the minors, with the chance to compete for and sometimes win major honours. Rich uncles, including governments, care mostly about glory I think, and seem to be most focused on the very top honours. I worry that the top honours are ever further from reach for medium sized teams like, say, Ag2r. They still get the drip drip that reaches us cycling fans but the chance to break through to the wider public is lower. Of course, Dumo's recent success for Sunweb is a massive counterexample, so maybe I'm fretting too much.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #15 on: May 31, 2017, 20:49 »
    https://twitter.com/mcewenrobbie/status/869940800578351105

    I don't think that climb or the cobbles are part of the course though.

    The hilly day is a bit further south and while the sprint and TTT course both finish in that Sportzone, they specifically say "There are no hills for the teams to worry about" on that course.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #16 on: May 31, 2017, 21:48 »
    I don't think that climb or the cobbles are part of the course though.
    They're not.
    This is Sportzone Limburg footing the bill for a newfangled concept to broadcast itself to the world.
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  • t-72

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #17 on: May 31, 2017, 22:25 »
    On slow TV-
    Slow TV is a gamble right now that mainly state broadcasters can take, which Norway has pioneered. From what I've read about slow TV, and I work in the field so not just random googling, is that recall might be an issue. It makes sense, as it's there on the background, not the focus of full attention at any moment.
    <snip>
    Regardless, outside Norway, it's still very niche.

    Ram - are you aware of the discussions on origins of slow TV in Norway? There are some that argue Tour de France on TV was the invention of slow TV before slow TV was invented.In that case, slow TV isn't very niche, but at the core of cycling's only mainstream TV product.


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  • FreeWheelin

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #18 on: June 01, 2017, 02:09 »
    To add to the discussion, this is what I said back in March when the series was first announced.

    Quote
    I think it is a great idea to try to capitalize on a broader audience like 20/20 has done in Cricket.

    The domestic 4 day cricket competition in Australia has long been considered the best domestic competition in the world (probably according to biased Aussies) however, the matches are played in front of empty grandstands.  The domestic 20/20 competition 'The Big Bash' is a fun, short, lively competition that the players seem to have fun doing. Most games are sold out (with a huge amount of kids in the stands) and the TV ratings are excellent.

    The purists didn't like it but they are coming around (I'm one of those).  Time will tell how many 'Big Bash' fans go on to be fans of Test cricket... but it does not matter that much if they don't.  The Big Bash brings money into the game that would not be there otherwise.  Some say that it will be the death of Test cricket, but I dont think so.  The reason it wont be is the players.  The players enjoy the Big Bash, but really they want to play Test cricket for Australia.  Any one of them would pull out of the Big Bash in a heartbeat if they are given a Test opportunity (as was proven this year).

    So, who knows if Hammer is a success or not, no one would have believed how successful the Big Bash would be.  But even if it is a raging success it will NEVER replace any significant race (and I don't think it even wants to), because the riders want to win the big races.  If Hammer can be cycling's version of 'hit and giggle' (what the nay-sayers call 20/20), then that would be a great thing.  Some fun for fans and riders alike.  A short, easy to follow format that works on TV.  Bring in a wider audience and some new revenue.  ASO, RCS etc should support it rather then fighting it... but we know that wont happen.

    So regardless if it succeeds or fails, I dont see how it is going to be 'the downfall of cycling.  :slow
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  • Ram

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #19 on: June 01, 2017, 03:02 »
    ^Fair. And those who post on cycling forums always talking about cycling are not necessarily the target group for them.

    Ram - are you aware of the discussions on origins of slow TV in Norway? There are some that argue Tour de France on TV was the invention of slow TV before slow TV was invented.In that case, slow TV isn't very niche, but at the core of cycling's only mainstream TV product.
    For once, I am. Peaked at over 50% of the population, which is stunning for a tv programme. One of my points was that it is definitely niche outside Norway. Is Norway a representative sample of Europe or the wider world? It may be, I won't write it off.
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  • Caruut

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #20 on: June 01, 2017, 14:06 »
    To add to the discussion, this is what I said back in March when the series was first announced.

    So regardless if it succeeds or fails, I dont see how it is going to be 'the downfall of cycling.  :slow

    Yes, that's a good point. I never thought it would be a downfall, just a misguided distraction, but perhaps I'm wrong. The T-20 parallel is pretty apt: less tactics, shorter races, more action. I suppose it's not that different an idea to the post-Tour crits, and I even wonder whether that might not be the best time for this: just after the Tour when there's a bunch of casual fans eager for some bike racing action of any form? If it's a team event the big names can come along, put in a dig on one climb and then melt back into the peloton for a spin.
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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #21 on: June 02, 2017, 00:28 »
    I never thought it would be a downfall, just a misguided distraction, but perhaps I'm wrong.

    My 'downfall of cycling' reference was in regard to the tweet that Search posted at the top of this thread.

    Yeah, there are a lot of challenges to make something different work, and I'm not overly optimistic that Hammer is it, but I still think it is worth a shot.

    BTW, does anyone know the reason behind calling it 'Hammer'?
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #23 on: June 02, 2017, 08:40 »
    My 'downfall of cycling' reference was in regard to the tweet that Search posted at the top of this thread.

    Yeah, there are a lot of challenges to make something different work, and I'm not overly optimistic that Hammer is it, but I still think it is worth a shot.

    BTW, does anyone know the reason behind calling it 'Hammer'?

    No idea but might be that quote

    " sometimes you are the Hammer, Today I was the Nail "
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  • Ram

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #24 on: June 02, 2017, 16:46 »
    Pretty good fun. Promising start
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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #25 on: June 02, 2017, 16:57 »
    yeah, this was quite entertaining indeed. Especially as #movistar Bananito absolutely smashed it :win





    (the result on PCS may, or may not come online later on I guess)
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #26 on: June 02, 2017, 21:25 »
    (the result on PCS may, or may not come online later on I guess)
    It's online now - but the race is not UCI-classified. It doesn't feature in the UCI calendar, and it won't give any UCI points.
    Which is only logical since it doesn't follow UCI regulations, neither for a stage race (GC isn't made up on time, and teams can switch riders between days) nor for a series of one-day races (the winner isn't decided by 'first over the line', except for the TTT chase - where, however, teams start with handicaps).
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  • Not My Circus

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #27 on: June 02, 2017, 22:12 »
    Wasn't quire sure what to make of Hammer Hills. I think I liked it, though I had no idea what was going on and wasn't any the wiser from words of wisdom out of the team cars, and the lack of data on the screen. I mean I was ready for useless data overload, but we didn't even get that, let alone useful stuff.


    <3 Betancur looking like he was out for a Sunday ride and BOSSING it.

    Tao GH was a fighter. Tom D was strong

    I'm laughing that MOV are winning so far. Tactical nous with two riders scoring points. It's no surprise. They are the masters of maximising team points, they do it at every stage race ;p

    Twitter was at it's wacky joyous best... something that has been missing for a while.



    I didn't see the start, but it all seems to have gone BOOOM  right on the first climb of first lap... I guess I was hoping for a bit more than just one group off the front mopping up the points. Having said that, my legs hurt watching that, it was brutal and relentless.

    Also, there seems to have been some confusion (for want of a better word) right before the start.
    Quote
    From Trek team report
    "We had 40kms of neutral before we arrived to a small village where we were to start," explained Trek-Segafredo director Luc Meersman. "Before we arrived to the village they asked five teams to come to the front, the ones with all the big names, and then there should have been 1km neutral after that, and that did not happen. Our guys were not in a good position when they started, and these big teams in the front went full gas..."

    Now, given Trek are unlikely to have been happy with the result anyway, and allowing for some disgruntlement (and looking to excuse) their poor positioning. If this was the situation, there is something that sounds a tad awry here. I can see why there was a 'parade' and the 'big names' were given prominent positions. After all people had paid to see this and one must give them a show. However, if they also want it to be a race and not something along the lines of a post Tour show Crit (which I love btw), then they should at least ensure there is some sort of fair start - which presumably is what the 1km neutral was there for.

    As is say I didn't see it... did anyone notice it?

    All in all, I think I'll watch tomorrow to see how the hell Hammer sprint pans out, and if the comms can get to grips with the scoring. I watched on FB... maybe I'll try GCN YouTube for a change...

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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #28 on: June 02, 2017, 22:22 »
    In a way of delivering entertainment it worked out - the "all about the team" part not so much though, did it?
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    Re: Hammer Sportzone Limburg
    « Reply #29 on: June 02, 2017, 22:59 »
    It's online now - but the race is not UCI-classified. It doesn't feature in the UCI calendar, and it won't give any UCI points.

    in the official Roadbook it's still listed as a 2.1 UCI Europe Tour race

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