Race competition to expand to more countries in 2020

NEWS

The Hammer Series is expanding in 2020 with the team-vs-team series adding a Colombian leg and its maiden women’s event.

The inaugural Hammer Colombia will take place on February 7-9 in Pereira, the capital of the Risaralda department and part of the so-called “Coffee Triangle” of Colombia. The first ever women’s Hammer Series event will run on the same days as the new men’s event. In 2021 and 2022, the series will explore the Quindío and Caldas regions respectively to show off more of the “Coffee Triangle”.

Colombian cyclist Esteban Chaves said he is excited about the event coming to his home country in 2020. “The Colombian coffee area is one of the most beautiful ones we have — bringing together cycling and coffee is a fantastic mix,” said Chaves. “I can’t wait to show off my culture, my people, my country, my food and everything beautiful about this place.”

Fellow Mitchelton-Scott racer Annamiek Van Vleuten also said she was looking forward to racing in Colombia next year at the first women’s event in the series’ history. “I’m very happy we can race the Hammer Series, especially with live broadcasting and streaming online,” she said. “It’s very good for women’s cycling.”

Velon CEO Graham Barlett echoed Van Vleuten’s sentiment, saying a women’s Hammer Series had long been on the cards. “Hammer racing goes from strength to strength and we’re particularly proud to announce a women’s race in addition to the men’s,” he said. “For a long time we’ve wanted to offer a Hammer race for women and with such strong backing from our hosts in Colombia we’ve finally been able to achieve that.”

Each Hammer Series event consists of three races where teams compete against one another to determine a winner, rather than individual riders racing against each other. The three Hammer disciplines — the Climb, Sprint, and Chase — all take place on short circuits which are covered multiple times.

Organised by Velon, the Hammer Series was first raced in 2017 with one event (in Limburg) before expanding to a three-race event (Stavanger, Limburg and Hong Kong) in 2018. The initial event was won by Team Sky while Mitchelton-Scott claimed the series victory in 2018.

Two races have already been held in the 2019 series, with Jumbo-Visma winning Hammer Stavanger (in Norway) and Deceuninck-QuickStep wining Hammer Limburg (in The Netherlands). The final race of the year will be held in Hong Kong in October. Deceuninck Quick-Step is leading the series overall so far.