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Watch live: The Hammer Series

Joseph Delves
2 Jun 2017

Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin and a host of big names line up in Limburg ahead of the inaugural Hammer series race

All you need to know about the Hammer Series

If you’re trying to convince a sceptical public to tune into your new race format it probably helps to have some big names to draw in the punters. Luckily, with 12 of cycling’s 18 WorldTour teams attending there certainly won’t be a lack of recognisable faces competing at the first ever Hammer Series event.

Recent Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin will be there as part of the seven-man Team Sunweb squad, while André Greipel will be working for Lotto–Soudal and Alex Dowsett for Movistar.

Designed with input from the majority of the WorldTour teams, the series aims to bring a new squad-based racing format to the public.

Part kermesse, part mini stage race, with multiple stages taking place in the same location the action is designed to be easy to follow for fans, whether there in person, or watching the freely available live-stream.

A huge amount of time and energy has gone into designing the event, which has broad-spectrum support among the teams. But in an already packed calendar, do fans need another race? And will the series be able to find its own niche?

The impetus for the launch of the new series is, as always, money. Currently most well known races are controlled by a few organisers.

Increasingly teams have become unhappy with the share of revenue which they draw from these events, particularly their cut of the lucrative broadcast rights.

Velon, the business that runs the Hammer Series, is owned and controlled by 10 of the WorldTour teams. In hosting their own series they’ll be able to hold on to a far larger share of the proceeds than they would if competing in a traditional race.

So far so mercenary. However, with the star power to back up the Hammer Series there’s no reason why the events shouldn’t prove a spectacle capable of drawing in the crowds and competing with more established races.

To boost engagement, the series has stolen some tricks from Twenty20 cricket to condense as much action into as small a timescale as possible.

Competing over three stages - dubbed climb, spring and chase - the racing will take place over consecutive days. Squads bring seven riders, with five chosen for each stage.

Circuits will be short to allow fans to see the action unfold, and each race will be less than two hours in duration. The cumulative total from all the events will lead to one team being crowned the winner at the end of the weekend.

Coverage, which will be available freely online, will include live stats and onboard GoPro footage.

‘Based on an exciting new multi-discipline team race format, the Hammer Series is a revolutionary international professional road cycling series created to find the world’s best team.

'Hammer Series is designed to maximise excitement for fans and viewers. The format makes the riding challenge comprehensive, delivering a definitive verdict on the best team.

'The action is fast, exciting, accessible for both die-hard fans and those less familiar with bike racing. The scoring system ensures it is the team performance that’s rewarded, not the individual,’ explained the series' organisers.

Whether the format catches on will largely depend on the quality of the racing. If the series can start to attract the prestige of more established events, it’ll become more hotly contested.

Still with most of the big teams behind it, the first Hammer Series promises to worth tuning into.

Racing starts at 1500 (CEST) on Friday 2nd June

WorldTour teams competing at the inaugural Hammer Series race

Bahrain Merida
BMC Racing Team
Lotto Soudal
Quick-Step Floors
Team Sky
Team Sunweb
UAE Team Emirates