In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: What is the Hammer Series? Digging deeper into the races that could change cycling; Preview: Women’s WorldTour kicks off on the gravel roads of the Strade Bianche this weekend; Fourth stage of the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo cancelled; British Cycling to rethink relationship with Team Sky; Wiggins refuses to talk to media over UKAD investigation; Belgian race organisers focus on preventing sidewalk riding; Stybar ready for Strade Bianche; Woet Poels will not start Paris-Nice due to knee problem; Final teams announced for Amstel Gold Race; Sporza fails to secure rights for Italian races; Colorado Classic to add entertainment component for financial stability; Video: Final kilometres of Le Samyn; The Peak District Journey.
Your Friday Daily News Digest
The new Hammer Series was announced on Wednesday, with the unveiled multi-day format seeking to determine the best teams in the sport via a number of rounds. Beginning this year with an event in Limburg, the Netherlands, plenty of questions remain about the background details and how the system will work.
The series is organised by the sports marketing company Infront Sports and Media plus Velon, a collective of ten of the sport’s 18 WorldTour teams. CyclingTips spoke to Velon CEO Graham Bartlett about the Hammer Series, covering subjects such as its origin, its planned funding sources, clashes with the existing calendar, broadcasting plans and more. Here is an excerpt:
Is there a sports model this is based on from all the sports? Is there anything you can draw parallels with?
Well, I think that the team aspect is very interesting as parallels. If you look at… we are trying to get the emotion into the team position. If you look at the likes of the Ryder Cup, if you look at the likes of national racing a bit as well, it draws in elements of that. What we were looking for really was a different format to what is out there, to bring new fans into the sport. If we look at other sports, they’re looking for maybe more impactful, shorter formats that can capture a new generation of fans in sports.
Look at the success of Twenty20 cricket. For me, I think it’s very interesting the way that when people first announced Twenty20, people said that will that be the death knell of test match cricket. But that has not proved to be the case. If anything, it has energised the sport. So you need to bring in and attract a new, different audience. A more youthful audience. We went to the big broadcasters of sport at the very beginning of discussions, asking what did they think, drawing from the best there is there in cycling.
Cycling is very exciting. You got fantastic, exciting moments in the race. They tend to be spread out over six or eight hours. How do you make it more condensed, more impactful?
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