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Watch: Team Sky take overall win at inaugural Hammer Series in Limburg

Final chase provides thrilling spectacle as British squad hold off Team Sunweb

Joseph Delves
5 Jun 2017

The unique format of the inaugural Hammer Series lived up to its hype, culminating with the singular spectacle of two fragmented time trial squads battling each other for the same few metres of tarmac.

Having shown strongly on Friday and Saturday in the earlier Climb and Sprint stages, Team Sky found themselves matched up against Team Sunweb in the final group time trial.

With the three day event being a team effort, their cumulative results led to them to being set off 32 seconds ahead of the German squad.

The final result was to be decided on the road, and over three 15 kilometre laps the five man team of Owain Doull, Jon Dibben, Tao Geoghegan-Hart, Danny van Poppel and Elia Viviani held off the charging Sunweb squad until the last kilometres.

With the teams together in the penultimate minutes of racing, and both groups down to four men, it came down to the final rider over the line to determine the victors.

With Team Sunweb threatening to slip away up the road, Van Poppel dragged Team Sky back into contention coming around the last bend.

This set up a mad dash for the line between the eight remaining riders.

At the close Tao Geoghegan Hart was Team Sky’s last man over the line, having held off three hard charging Sunweb riders.

Of his team's tactics, Van Poppel explained, ‘With those time gaps and that length of circuit, it was always going to be close … we thought just back off, recover and try and come past them in the last kilometre’.

In the earlier Group 2 race BMC Racing Team suffered an incredible streak of bad luck, being struck by four consecutive punctures. Their ill fortune allowed Quick-Step Floors to slip past to take the final podium spot.

Sky’s win at the first running of the Hammer Series was watched by more than 1.5million cycling fans online. Having attracted a strong initial line-up, it remains to be seen if the event, which is run by a consortium of ProTeams, takes off and expands to more venues.

Overall top 10 results, Hammer Series Limburg

1. Team Sky
2. Team Sunweb
3. Orica-Scott
4. Lotto Soudal
5. Movistar 
6. LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Cannondale-Drapac 
8. Nippo Vini Fantini
9. Quick-Step Floors
10. Trek-Segafredo