Despite racking up 700 of Bora-Hansgrohe’s 869 points up and over the 10-lap, 8.9-kilometre circuit of the 2019 Hammer Series opener in Stavanger, Sam Bennett admitted he may have “underestimated” the level of difficulty on the cold day in Norway, which featured a climb with a punishing double-digit gradient.
“It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” said Bennett. “I was meant to go for double points only, but then I found myself in the break, and then I took whatever points I could. I’m completely dead! I’ll try and recover and see what I can do tomorrow.”
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In the end, it was Mike Teunissen who gave Jumbo-Visma the initial win with two stages remaining in the first round of the multi-city, team-based bike racing series launched by Velon in 2017.
The 26-year-old Dutchman not only accounted for a maximum point total (100) on Lap 7, he also earned double bonus points (200) by overtaking Lucas Eriksson (Riwal Readynez) on the ascent of the final lap to give his team the Hammer Climb victory and current series lead.
However, Teunissen was not alone in contributing to his team’s success on the day, and the 2013 under-23 world cyclocross champion quickly gave credit to his team-mates who helped Jumbo-Visma accumulate 1,065 points. Lotto Soudal were second with 928 points, followed by Bora (869).
Last year’s Hammer Stavanger winner and overall series champion Mitchelton-Scott sits fourth with 727 points.
“Everybody in the team scored a lot of points today and at the end, we were still there with two riders,” he said. “That was really crucial for our victory today. We managed really well to control the breaks all day long, and that was really important. We didn’t win a lot of sprints, only two, but we were always there.”
There three-day event also includes the Hammer Sprint on Saturday before concluding with the team time trial Hammer Chase on Sunday.
Hammer Stavanger opens an entire week of racing in the country, which includes a bolstered Tour of Norway (UCI 2.HC), which merged with Tour des Fjords (2.HC) following the conclusion of both races last year.
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