Hammer Series expands to Asia

Cycling’s Hammer Series will head to Asia later this year through the formation of a new event in Hong Kong.

Created by the Infront agency and the Velon media and marketing body of pro cycling teams, the Hammer Series debuted with one event last year in Limburg in the Netherlands. Today’s (Tuesday’s) announcement makes it three events for 2018 through a new partnership with Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Cyclothon – the biggest road cycling event in Hong Kong.

Hammer Hong Kong, presented by Sun Hung Kai Properties, will take place on October 14. The race will be staged as part of cycling festival the Hong Kong Cyclothon. It will see the best UCI WorldTour teams compete in a special, one-off race day on the streets of the autonomous territory.

Anthony Lau, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said: “The Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Cyclothon has grown from strength to strength since its first edition four years ago and has continued to expand and draw more top-notch cyclists from around the world.

“This partnership is a natural move for the HKTB to upgrade the UCI Asia Tour Class 1.1 road race into a world-class spectacle and is in line with our continued efforts to enhance every element of our diverse range of mega events which contribute to Hong Kong’s status as the events capital of Asia.”

Two WorldTour teams – Mitchelton-Scott and UAE Team Emirates – competed in last year’s Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Challenge. Mitchelton-Scott general manager Shayne Bannan said: “The extension of the Hammer Series to Hong Kong is an exciting prospect for us on a number of levels.

“We are obviously invested in Velon and the future we see the Hammer Series playing in cycling, but we are also heavily involved in the region, particularly with our Chinese-registered UCI Continental team Mitchelton-BikeExchange.

“We recognised the huge amount of potential in Hong Kong and China a number of years ago now and we are excited by the growth we are already seeing in not only riders, but also in support and infrastructure. This collaboration will only enhance this movement. The combination of these interests make Hammer Hong Kong an important late season target for us."

The new Hong Kong event will make its Hammer Series debut alongside the race in Stavanger, Norway, which is scheduled to open the 2018 season on May 25-27. The Series will return to Limburg on June 1-3.