Trek-Segafredo won two of the eight sprints and played into the points of six to win the second day Hammer Series Sprint in Limburg Saturday.
The race was held on a flat, fast 12.4-kilometer circuit, and the attacks never relented over the eight laps as breakaways contested seven of eight sprints. Trek-Segafredo was a factor in nearly all the moves as Matthias Brändle and Jasper Stuyven combined early, each taking first place points in sprints two and four respectively, while Boy van Poppel and Giacomo Nizzolo played into the action of the latter part of a sizzling fast race.
“It was full gas immediately from the start,” said Boy van Poppel. “Every lap was like it was the last lap, it was full sprinting, and those laps where there were double points…yeah, just full gas the whole lap.”
After failing to score points in Friday’s Hammer Series climb, Trek-Segafredo came out flying for day two with Jasper Stuyven initiating the first breakaway and scoring second place points after the first lap.
Brändle countered, and soon the next breakaway was moving clear on lap two. With Brändle’s big engine helping drive the move it stayed clear of a fast-chasing bunch, and he launched out of the group within the final kilometer to win the double points on offer.
“Today we played with different tactics,” explained Brändle. “We had sprinters, we had time trialists like me, so we went on the attack, and we also waited for a sprint. I knew to win I had to do a long sprint, so I went at 500 meters, but after that, I was just hanging on in the peloton and somehow survived to the line.”
“I think today we did really well, we always had one guy in the front and that was a big advantage because we never had to chase,” said Stuyven. “The race was full-on from start to finish, but since we were always in the front, it was not hard to keep a view of what was going on.”
After Stuyven and Brändle had spent their bullets in the first half, van Poppel and Nizzolo represented in the big moves that went clear in the following laps, scoring points in laps 5, 7, and 8 to wrap up the win for Trek-Segafredo.
Unlike any other cycling race, the rider crossing the line did not take the victory – in this case Sep Vanmarcke of Cannondale-Drapac – instead it was Trek-Segafredo who tallied enough points to secure the win and earn a trip to the podium to spray the champagne.
Hammer Series 2017 – Sprint Race
|5||Nippo – Vini Fantini||40.4|