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by Matt de Neef
June 5, 2017
In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Thomas De Gendt wins stage 1 of the Criterium du Dauphine; Greg Van Avermaet wins the Tour of Luxembourg; Team Sky takes narrow win in the inaugural Hammer Series event; Mathieu van der Poel victorious in the Boucles de la Mayenne; Andrew Suzuki leads the Trans Am Bike Race; Chaves “so happy” to return to racing at the Dauphine; UCI president Brian Cookson announces bid for second term; India launches its first bike-share scheme; Peter Sagan’s newest TV commercial.
Team Sky has emerged victorious from the first-ever Hammer Series event in the Netherlands after taking a narrow victory in the final stage: the Hammer Chase.
The three-day points-based competition was a departure from regular stage racing with three different formats being used in the three days. Friday’s first stage, the Hammer Climb, saw Movistar take the overall lead thanks to a dominant display from Carlos Betancur. The enigmatic Colombian won seven of the 11 uphill sprints in the 77km race, giving his team a commanding lead going into stage 2.
Saturday’s stage 2 saw Trek-Segafredo take the most points in the Hammer Sprint by winning two of the eight sprints on the flat, 12.4km circuit. Seven of the eight sprints were won from the breakaway, with Matthias Brandle and Jasper Stuyven taking maximum points on lap 2 and lap 4. By finishing fourth in the Hammer Sprint, Team Sky moved into the lead for the decisive final-stage: the Hammer Chase.
Sky began the team time trial 32 seconds ahead of Team Sunweb and managed to hold on for a narrow victory. The British outfit got its first four riders across the line just one second ahead of Sunweb, ensuring they’d win the Hammer Sportzone Limburg overall.
“Initially we started with the idea to do our team time trial full gas and try to win the TTT,” said Elia Viviani. “When we lost [Jonathan] Dibben we were down to four and with a lap to go. We knew via the radio that Sunweb was coming up. They played a little game and rested behind us, so we said to give them the space and we’d see what happens in the sprint. We have three good sprinters and Tao [Geoghegen Hart] did a good job to get fourth.”