Carlos Betancur’s brutal power climbing achieved a dominant win for the Movistar Team in the Hammer Climb – the first event of the innovative Hammer Series raced in Limburg in Holland.
The 27-year-old Colombian formed part of a strong breakaway and went on to amass almost all Movistar’s 144.8-points by winning seven of the 11 laps. Team Sunweb finished second with 98.9 points, largely thanks to Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin, while Team Sky were third on 84.7 points.
The Hammer Climb took place over 11 laps of a 7km circuit in Vaals, in the Netherlands. The circuit contained two climbs that totalled 2.9km of each lap.
Full Gas From The Start
The attack began as early as the neutral zone and the peloton immediately began to line out and later split apart. After Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) won the opening two laps, a five-man breakaway formed.
Betancur used his explosiveness to win laps three and four and, despite the lead group swelling to 13 after eight chasers latched on, the Colombian was still peerless when he made it three in a row on lap six, opening up a commanding 10-point lead for Team Movistar.
The Colombian duly won laps eight, nine and 10 with ease as Movistar’s lead stretched to 40 points. Campanaerts launched a solo attack and briefly looked like he would win the final lap, which had double points on offer, but Betancur caught him with a counter-attack on the final climb and went on to take the win with a huge acceleration in the final 400m.
Dumoulin In The Mix
Recent Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin recorded a clutch of second and third places. He said the racing was fast and frenetic.
“It was incredibly hard. I’m happy that it’s done,” he said.
“I couldn’t attack. I was happy to be there and have a little bit of a sprint. “Betancur was flying. He was way move explosive than I after 21 days in the Giro. I still took some shape with me from the Giro. I went full gas and that’s all I could do today. I’m happy that we’re second.”
The Hammer Series continues from 10:45pm Saturday night (AEST) with the Hammer Sprint. The series is webcast live on Facebook and can be viewed here.
Top 10 Team Standings
1. Movistar Team, 144.8 points, 15 bonus seconds
2. Team Sunweb, 98.9 points, 12 bonus seconds
3. Team Sky, 84.7 points, 10 bonus seconds
4. Orica-SCOTT, 83.3 points, eight bonus seconds
5. BMC Racing, 75.2 points, six bonus seconds
6. Nippo Vini Fantini, 53.6 points, five bonus seconds
7. Quick-Step Floors, 53 points, four bonus seconds
8. LottoNL-Jumbo, 27.7 points, three bonus seconds
9. Lotto Soudal, 23.7 points, two bonus seconds
10. Cannondale-Drapac, 2.3 points, one bonus second
Points be added to the Hammer Sprint taking place on Saturday then carried through to the finale, the Hammer Chase, on Sunday.