Hammer Series: Mitchelton-Scott crushes ‘chase’ en route to sweep in Stavanger
Australian WorldTour team proved imperious with clean sweep of Hammer Stavanger to open 2018 as overall series leader with return to Limburg on the immediate horizon …
Entering the day with 2,555 aggregate points — 927 more than nearest rival Sunweb — the five-man Mitchelton squad consisting of Cameron Meyer (AUS), Damien Howson (AUS), Lucas Hamilton (AUS), Daryl Impey (RSA) and Roger Kluge (GER) was first off the line in the finalist group and afforded a 30 second head start over Sunweb. Team Sky followed, as did the remainder of the seven teams in 30 second intervals.
Earlier in the day, Trek-Segafredo topped the runner-up group of seven by more than two minutes trouncing of Lotto Soudal and UAE-Emirates over the three-lap 48.6-kilometre course.
“I was very nervous,” admitted Australian Cameron Meyer. “I haven’t had the best couple of days. I had a bit of an injury and a bit of sickness, so yesterday I made the call to sit out because I knew today was going to be important to be a strong member of the team, and I pulled up all right.
“I was able to contribute pretty well. Across the board all five of us were pretty even and that showed in our overall performance.”
The recently crowned Commonwealth Games individual time trial gold medallist and two-time Australian TT champion said the plan was to apply the pressure early in the ‘chase’ and never let up.
“It’s an interesting concept when you have other teams chasing you, so we didn’t want them to get within sight or get really close to us, so we knew we wanted the first lap to be really strong and it showed,” he told Eurosport. “We put in a good distance between us and the other teams and then we just had to maintain. It was just our day and the last three days have been pretty special.”
The 30-year-old Perth native says the team’s background on the track may have played a pivotal role in the team’s domination, which put in an extra 1 minute 49 seconds on Sunweb (+2:19) and over a closing BMC Racing (+2:22), who along with Quick-Step (+3:49) leapfrogged Team Sky (+4:44), which limped across the line in fifth following a crash in a roundabout on the circuit.
“Roger Kluge is the current Madison world champion, and I am the current world points race champion, so we have a few good track riders in there and that shows in the smoothness,” explained Meyer. “A lot of the Australians are brought up with track racing and that gives you the ability to be really smooth in a team time trial and I think that showed today.”
“I’m sure our team will take a lot of motivation and I’m sure the rest of the boys around the world will be watching this,” said Meyer. “I am sure in Limburg they’ll be out there trying to take another win in the Hammer Series.”