Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Hammer Limburg
Philippe Gilbert will make his first appearance in more than five weeks at the three-day event.
The dust has settled on the inaugural Hammer Stavanger, but the exciting series continues with the second edition of Hammer Limburg, which takes place in one of the most popular regions in the cycling world, host of several World Championships editions in the past decades, most recently in 2012, when Philippe Gilbert soloed to victory.
Last Belgian rider to don the iconic rainbow jersey, the 35-year-old will be part of a strong Quick-Step Floors roster that also includes neo-pros Kasper Asgreen, Alvaro Hodeg and Jhonatan Narvaez, as well as Yves Lampaert, Davide Martinelli and Enric Mas.
The Hammer Climb will kick off the party in the Netherlands with a race taking place over 11 laps of 7 kilometers, each lap containing two climbs – 900 meters, 4.2% and 2000 meters, 5.3%. Points will be up for grabs at the end of every lap, with double points awarded on laps 3, 7 and 11. Just 24 hours later, the Hammer Sprint will put on the table a flat 11.4km circuit which will be covered eight times, and it will be at the end of this race that we'll know the starting order of the teams on the final day, the Hammer Chase, a 37.2km TTT.
Sports director Tom Steels, who will lead the squad from behind the wheel, made a preview of what's in store this weekend: "Hammer Stavanger confirmed what we saw last year, that in these events you need to be awake and focused at all times as it is full gas from the beginning to the end and losing too many points will cost you seconds you can never earn back. The points system is more important than winning the two first days. The team with the most points starts first in the team chase on Sunday, which is quite a spectacular race. As we saw at the last event, if you lose too many points and hence start far back on Sunday's race, you will never be able to compete for the overall win."
"We will take the experiences we gained in Norway onto the Hammer Limburg with hopes of being there in the final. It won't be an easy task with so many big names at the start, but we will give our best. Hopefully we will see even greater crowds than in Stavanger, who'll come to celebrate a fantastic weekend of road racing", Steels concluded.
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