Geoghegan Hart scores big at Hammer Series

02 Jun 2017

Geoghegan Hart scores big at Hammer Series

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Tao Geoghegan Hart put in a strong performance to secure third place for Team Sky, despite a crash on the opening day of Hammer Sportzone Limburg.

The new points-based series kicked off with the Hammer Climb event and 11 relentless laps of a seven kilometre circuit, and points on the line for the top-10 riders each lap.
 
Geoghegan Hart racked up 84.7 points as part of a breakaway group that pushed clear on the opening lap, with the race blowing apart behind.
 
The young Brit had established a foothold in second place for Team Sky, and scored maximum points in the double-point sprint at the end of lap seven, but saw his challenge hampered by a crash – sliding out on a fast left-hand corner.
 
With Geoghegan Hart needing to finish to ensure his points counted towards the Team Sky total, not only did he bravely ride on, but he also continued to chip away and score points.
 
Third place translates to 10 valuable bonus seconds, which will be held over until Sunday’s Hammer Chase team time trial finale.
 
Carlos Betancur helped spearhead a victorious day for Movistar, winning the vast majority of sprints, with two team-mates able to soak up additional points behind. Fresh from victory at the Giro d’Italia, Tom Dumoulin also helped power Team Sunweb into second place, gradually overhauling the battling Geoghegan Hart’s total in the closing stages.
 
The Team Sky rider dug deep late on and was able to bridge across to the lead group ahead of the final double-points sprint. With Betancur attacking ahead to cap an emphatic performance, Tao held his nerve to finish sixth over the stripe. That ensured Team Sky held off Orica-Scott by just 1.4 points.
Tao Geoghegan Hart

Tao Geoghegan Hart

I wanted to attack out of that corner and I went in at what I thought was the limit.
After the stage TeamSky.com caught up with Geoghegan Hart who happily confirmed he was fine after his lap eight crash.

He explained: “I wanted to attack out of that corner and I went in at what I thought was the limit. I think it was fine, but because I wanted to attack I tried to pedal as soon as possible. It was really new, shiny road and my back wheel just slid out. The good side of the new road was that the road rash was really light and superficial. 
 
“It’s a bit annoying to have potentially lost second place because of that. But who knows, maybe it would have been the same conclusion in the end. But it was an okay day I think.”
 
The 22 year old also talked us through a hectic start to the race, which saw the peloton split apart and the pattern set for the afternoon. 
 
“We thought it might split apart early as it’s such a short race. Everyone has so much depth that they can be really aggressive from the start and they’re not going to pay for that over 77km. But then it was also a really fast neutral zone. It seemed that the teams with numbers at the front who had been called up looked around, realised they had the advantage, and started riding straight away. I just had to go full gas for the first couple of kilometres to make sure I was at the front. But from then on it was actually a pretty simple race, as very quickly it was a reduced peloton. 
 
“It was pretty clear that Betancur was on a level above everyone else. I wasn’t too stressed about trying to beat him in in the sprints as I knew it was going to be difficult. On the seventh lap for double points I was able to do some good positioning and come around (Luke) Durbridge to take that. It was pretty clear from the first time up the climb what position and where you needed to be on the road for those corners. It’s always easier when there are six or seven guys to look at, rather than 50.”

Hammer Climb result:

1. Movistar (144.8 points) +15” bonus
2. Team Sunweb (98.9 points) +12” bonus
3. Team Sky (84.7 points) +10” bonus
4. Orica-Scott (83.3 points) +8” bonus
5. BMC Racing (75.2 points) +6” bonus

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