Mitchelton-Scott positioned themselves as favourites for the second-ever Hammer Series race, with Tour des Fjords winner Michael Albasini playing the main role as they took victory in the Hammer Climb. The Swiss rider made it into a large group that stole away on lap three, later attacking along with LottoNL-Jumbo’s Antwan Tolhoek to dominate the mid-race laps.
The 80.6km first stage of Hammer Stavanger took place over 9.5 laps of an 8.4km circuit featuring two climbs. The first ran to 800 metres at 6.8 per cent with the latter 1km at 5.8 per cent serving as the finish line and sprint point.
A first lap attack from Michael Gogl (Trek-Segafredo) drew out a strong front group which included Dylan Teuns (BMC) and Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) among others. It was soon brought back, but young climber Tolhoek countered on lap two, bringing another group with him.
The group of around 15 riders lasted a further two laps before disintegrating as Albasini launched. By the race’s midpoint, Mitchelton-Scott had 657 points, double that of any other team, thanks largely to the Swiss puncheur and teammate Daryl Impey.
With the duo enjoying a minute lead at one point, Tolhoek’s consistent placings saw LottoNL-Jumbo consolidate second. Further back, Teuns and Tom Bohli (BMC), Moscon and Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto-Soudal) featured as the peloton scrapped over the remaining points.
Lap nine saw the duo up front finally absorbed as a group attacked from the peloton. Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) attacked out of the new lead group to take maximum points on the penultimate lap as the indefatigable Albasini scooped up more points for second.
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