Stage 1) Hammer Climb
Deceuninck – Quick-Step on aggressive mode in Stavanger
An undulating course with a sting in the tail – the short (160 meters) but punchy Grisabakken climb, which averaged 10.6% – awaited the 16 teams who lined up for the first Hammer Stavanger race, the Hammer Climb, on Friday evening. Runner-up at the end of the 2018 Hammer Series, Deceuninck – Quick-Step was among these squads and went on the attack in the opening kilometers, placing Alvaro Hodeg in a move from where the young Colombian put us on the leader board at the end of the first of the day’s ten laps.
The bunch reacted with around 60 kilometers to go, clawing back the escapees, and another group soon formed. Having missed the cut, Remco Evenepoel started a furious chase which resulted in him scratching off by himself a 20-second deficit and joining the nine men on the front. The Belgian neo-pro then drove the pace and helped the group stay clear until the last 25 kilometers, while bagging in precious points for our team at the end of each lap.
Petr Vakoč and Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert were also prominent, getting infiltrated in two separate attacks, putting down the watts and making sure of coming in the first ten at the top of the Grisabakken, thus adding to Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s points tally, which eventually helped our outfit finish the event in seventh place.
“It was hard out there. We went full gas from the start, with attacks coming thick and fast from all over the place. Our team did a good race, trying to cover every attack and score points on that hard and explosive climb. It was my first time racing the Hammer Series and I must say it was a nice experience, which I hope to continue over the next two days, in the Sprint and Chase”, Remco Evenepoel after the race.
Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen/ Getty Images
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