Sam Bewley and Mitchelton-Scott emerged victorious in the Hammer Hong Kong event at the weekend. A thrilling finale that went down to the wire between them and Quick-Step Floors eventually saw Mitchelton-Scott come out on top to take the win.
Unlike other Hammer Series events, the Hong Kong round comprised two events in one day with the sprint taking place over 42.5km – 10 laps of a 4.25km circuit – and then the chase over 21.3km. With just an hour and a half separating the race start times the recovery time was going to be very limited.
Heading into the event Sam Bewley was looking forward to getting his first taste of Hammer Series racing. “I’m excited to race the Hammer Series for the first time, I raced the Hong Kong Cyclothon the last two years and the fan engagement is something special,” Bewley said in a pre-race announcement. “The Hammer Series is going to add an even bigger element. We have a motivated group and hopefully we can finish it off and win the series overall.”
— SamBewley (@SamBewley) October 14, 2018
The team got off to the right start, winning the Hammer Sprint on day one after a steady start. The points started rolling in for the team courtesy of Roger Kluge attacking on lap 5 of the race. Up until that point Mitchelton-Scott hadn’t scored, but from there the tables had turned as Luka Mezgec, Matteo Trentin and Cameron Meyer all got in on the act to contribute to the points tally. It looked like Quick-Step Floors had initially taken the win in the Hammer Sprint, only to be disqualified following two riders’ disqualification due to incorrectly reentering the race after punctures. This gave Mitchelton-Scott top spot heading into the decisive Hammer Chase.
Five laps of the final chase circuit wrapped up the Hong Kong event and the series itself; with both still very much up for grabs. Mitchelton-Scott started the race with 20 seconds in hand over Quick-Step Floors and it was a fascinating duel to see who would come away with the win. At one point it looked like the ‘wolf pack’ would have the better of Bewley and co; with the gap closing to 13 seconds. However, excellent tactical astuteness from the Mitchelton-Scott team saw them bide their time and eventually grow their lead back out to 18 seconds again.
The result means that not only did Mitchelton-Scott win the Hammer Hong Kong event, but with victory also in Hammer Stavanger the overall series goes to the team. Mitchelton-Scott ended the series with 281 points to the 234.1 of Quick-Step Floors and Team Sunweb’s 152.7.