Live stream: Hammer Sportzone Limburg, June 2-4

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Following day of the Hammer Series on Saturday, Team Sky will set off in the driving seat in Sunday’s concluding team time trial, the Hammer Chase.

Under the format, days one and two of the three day competition see teams scoring points on each lap of the circuits. These routes were designed to highlight climbing, via Friday’s Hammer Climb, and sprinting, via Saturday’s Hammer Sprint.

Movistar was best on day one while Trek-Segafredo gathered the most points on Saturday. Under the combined total from both days, though, Team Sky is on top.

Sunday’s concluding day of the competition is run off on a unique format. The points gathered are translated into time bonuses, which are then applied to each team’s starting times. Team Sky will go first, 32 seconds ahead of Team Sunweb. Nippo-Vini Fantini will be one minute behind, with Lotto-Soudal beginning its effort one minute 12 down and Movistar at one minute 29 seconds.

In all eight teams will fight for victory, with each of them trying to catch those out front over the three lap, 43.5 kilometre distance. The first to the finish line is the overall winner.

The remaining eight teams will compete against each other in a B-final.

The race is broadcast live by Dailymotion and can be viewed on this page.

Remaining schedule (Local time):

Sunday, June 4: The Hammer Chase, 14:50 to 17:00

How the series works

Sixteen pro teams start the Hammer Sportzone Limburg race weekend on Friday in the Hammer Climb, pitting themselves against a punishing climbing circuit on the Vaalserberg, finishing at the Drielandenpunt (three country border: Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany) and the highest point in the Netherlands. The racing returns to host city Sittard-Geleen on Saturday in the all-new cycling circuit in Sportzone Limburg, where teams will go head-to-head on the flat and fast courses of the Hammer Sprint and Sunday’s decisive Hammer Chase.

Explainer video: How the series works

Five riders from each team of seven are selected to tackle each day’s discipline with the ultimate goal of crossing the finish line first after three gruelling days. Each day will feature multiple laps of 7-15km (7km Hammer Climb, 12.4km Hammer Sprint, and 14.9km Hammer Chase) ensuring wherever fans are on the course they will get the ultimate view of the action.

The final day is the race decider – the Hammer Chase – where the leading team after the first two days starts first, the other teams are chasing and the ultimate winner of the race is determined by the first team over the line. Time gaps between teams will be based on fixed time gaps per position and bonus time gained during Days 1 and 2. In true team pursuit style, the team whose fourth rider’s front wheel crosses the line first in the Hammer Chase is the race winner, earning points towards the overall Hammer Series.

The pro racing at Hammer Sportzone Limburg is complemented by a four-day cycling festival packed with mass participation races, a fan village, expo, live entertainment, youth area, team bus parades, and more to inspire and entertain fans.

The confirmed WorldTour and Pro-Continental teams competing:

• Bahrain Merida
• BMC Racing
• Cannondale-Drapac
• Lotto-Soudal
• Movistar Team
• Orica-Scott
• Quick-Step Floors
• Team Lotto NL-Jumbo
• Team Sky
• Team Sunweb
• Trek-Segafredo
• UAE Team Emirates
• Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
• Israel Cycling Academy
• Nippo-Vini Fantini
• Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij

Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team)

“As a bike rider it’s super interesting because for all of my career I’ve been working as a team for an individual. The only event where it’s this sort of concept is the team pursuit on the track, where it is a team win. Tactically, everything we know becomes secondary. This is new territory for all of us. It’s going to be really interesting.

“Cycling is steeped in history and we should never lose that, but this is great because it’s also reinventing it. We have seen in the last few years that short stages can really be some of the most exciting to watch, and obviously with the stages being so short here, I think it’s going to be some real hard racing from the word go.

“The way I have been seeing it is, Formula 1 has been around forever and then Formula E has been produced in the last couple of years and it’s gaining popularity and traction every year, and I think perhaps the Hammer Series is going to be similar in that it is going to get bigger and bigger and bigger.

“It will be a massive spectacle. For us, as well, it’s great to race in front of big crowds. We get a buzz off the fans and the fans seeing us much more regularly, it’s a lot better – everyone wins. It’s going to be interesting. There is a reason criterium racing is so popular in the UK, and that’s because of the participation from the fans.

“It’s going to be completely different. After that crosswinds stage at the Giro and what Quick-Step did – they rode incredibly together as a team, as well as Team Sunweb and Movistar as well at the Giro. But that Giro crosswinds stage and what Quick-Step did in terms of riding as a team really stood out. In terms of riding they’ve put a little marker out there. So no pressure on Quick-Step Floors then!”

Mathew Hayman (Orica-Scott)

“It’s going to be interesting to find out what the tactics are going to be. Most races we go into, we’re pretty sure what’s going to happen because they have been run 100 times or 150 times and you know when the race will break up, but over the next three days, all of the teams are going to have to be thinking on their feet, trying to work out what the other teams are doing and how best to attack it. It’s going to be a work in progress for all of the teams. You might come in with a tactic the first time and have to go back to the drawing board for the next round.

“I don’t have a problem with an individual rider winning, but it [the Hammer format] will open things up. You can’t just have one guy sprinting or one guy finishing off the job. We are going to have to use each rider in the team every lap, which is going to be interesting racing. It’s going to be an interesting concept — short, fast, hard.”

Jos van Emden (Team LottoNL-Jumbo)

“In this case it’s the best start for this series, for the Dutch fans at least, that me and Tom Dumoulin participate in this event. I hope that makes the people want to come and watch.

“I’m not the local hero — that’s up to Tom! It’s nice to show yourself to the fans and do what you’re good at. In my case that will be on Sunday in the team time trial.”

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

“I have good memories from the Eneco Tour, but it’s a totally different race and I’m looking forward to it. I’m maybe a little bit scared, because if it’s full gas from the beginning, it will hurt.

“For sure, you cannot go full at the start and think afterwards. You need to have a plan. We are seven riders for five places, so we can choose. For me, I will ride Friday and Sunday, so I know that Saturday I have a small day off.”

André Greipel (Lotto Soudal)

“For sure, I want to start all three days because I don’t have so many races in this area, close to Germany, so I hope there will be some Germans coming over as well to watch this racing.

“I’m excited and I have to remember myself a little bit in my junior times and try to get that mentality into the racing. The tactics will be totally different. It will not be up to me [in the Hammer Sprint]; there will also be pressure on the other teammates to get most of the points.

“At the end it’s not always myself who has to sprint on Saturday. We have quite a lot of fast guys, so we need to use every rider in the team to get the points. That is what makes it exciting for us, to see the tactics of the other teams.

“Safety is a big point in our sport at the moment, and circuit racing makes it safe for us, safe for the organisation and safe for the kids to race and train on it.”

Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors Pro Cycling)

“I’m happy to be here and part of this new project and, of course, the fact that it’s organised in Limburg is always nice for me. It’s a region I like to train and race and I have a lot of memories so I’m always happy to be here.

“It’s going to be a new experience and I’m really looking forward to seeing the success of this new project and new system of racing. I think people will love it. After two or three laps there will probably be different groups – it probably won’t stay together for more than a couple of laps. That will be great for the fans because there will always be something to see. It will be really interesting.”

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