Team Sky lead into Hammer finale

03 Jun 2017

Team Sky lead into Hammer finale

A strong team performance saw Team Sky place fourth in the Hammer Sprint and take the lead into the final day of Hammer Sportzone Limburg.

Amended results after the finish of Saturday's stage put Team Sky on top of the leaderboard after two days of hard racing, courtesy of third place in Friday's Hammer Climb, and fourth in the Hammer Sprint.

The team will lead off the front group in the Hammer Chase finale, carrying head start in the region of 30 seconds into Sunday’s team time trial. The first team across the line will win the overall event.
 
Team Sky worked their way into the sprint action, picking up a selection of early points before Elia Viviani began to impose himself on the race. The Italian put his track points race experience to good use, racking up some crucial points, including a win on the lap five double points sprint.
 
Jon Dibben also fired himself up the road in a late group with Viviani, helping to drive the move onwards. Tao Geoghegan Hart monitored things behind after his star turn in the Hammer Sprint, and helped keep the pace high in the bunch to lay the groundwork for Viviani’s lap five success.
 
Danny van Poppel chipped in with early points on home ground, and the team’s total of 50.9 was good enough for fourth on the day. A regrouping at the front saw fresh legs arrive in time for the final double points-paying sprint, and with Team Sky unable to score they slipped two places to fourth.
 
Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) and Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini) pushed clear to soak up the final pair of top points, with the former helping edge Team Sky into fourth as the first rider home after eight laps. Trek-Segafredo racked up points early and held on as winners on the day.
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Servais Knaven

Servais Knaven

It’s fun racing and it’s nice to see the riders really like it. They support the concept and they are up for it.
After the stage Sport Director Servais Knaven put the performance into context and talked us through a good day out.
 
“We’re in a great position and we will now lead the chase off tomorrow and try to go for the win,” the Dutchman confirmed.
 
“The guys really did a good job. They were riding well but this is really hard and unpredictable racing. We were a bit on the back foot and chasing from the start. We missed some moves and had to close some gaps, but we were able to put ourselves back into the race, and our consistency has paid off.
 
“We scored and did some good sprints just before half way, and we moved right back into the mix again in second on the rankings. Then it all looked good until the final sprint. The whole peloton came back together which made it more difficult for Elia to get points. Some fast guys came back into the fight.”
 
It's not just the riders who are forced to work hard during the Hammer Series, with Knaven adding: “It's pretty hectic in the car. A lot is happening and we need to try and follow the television, follow Radio Tour and constantly monitor the standings. It’s full gas in the car too so it’s maybe a good thing it’s only two hours (laughs). But it’s fun and it’s nice to see the riders really like it. They support the concept and they are up for it.”

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