The Hammer Series team cycling competition has brought an early end to its 2019 season after electing to cancel its Hong Kong event due to the ongoing civil unrest in the country.
In a joint statement, Hammer Series organiser Velon and the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), the organiser of Hammer Hong Kong and the mass participation Hong Kong Cyclothon, said that the two events scheduled for October 13 will not take place.
The statement added: “We have been keeping matters under close review and it has now been decided that the best course of action is to halt preparations and look to 2020 when the Hammer Series and the world’s top professional cyclists will return to the streets of Hong Kong.”
Today’s (Thursday’s) announcement means that Team Jumbo-Visma (pictured) will be crowned overall Hammer Series champions of 2019. The Dutch team topped the leaderboard after winning Hammer Stavanger and taking second place overall in Hammer Limburg.
Hong Kong has seen a number of sporting events cancelled in recent weeks amid the instability in the country. Golf’s PGA Tour Series-China last month announced it would bring an early end to its 2019 season after cancelling its Clearwater Bay Open tournament.
Hong Kong originally joined the Hammer Series last year, but is set to return in 2020 alongside a new event in Colombia. Graham Bartlett, Velon chief executive, said: “We’re sorry that the fans won’t get to see the best teams in the world go all-out for overall victory in the Hammer Series in Hong Kong again this year.
“However, Team Jumbo-Visma were the standout team of this year’s Series and they deserve the title. We are already in the middle of planning next year’s Hammer Series and we look forward to being back in Hong Kong for the big Hammer Series finale in 2020.”
Today’s news comes just days after Velon, the marketing, media and technology company for pro-road cycling, confirmed it had entered an anti-trust complaint to the European Commission against the International Cycling Union (UCI), claiming that the sport’s world governing body is impeding its business practices.
Velon said the complaint was lodged on September 20, adding it had the unanimous support of its shareholders. Velon is owned by 11 WorldTour teams: BORA-hansgrohe; CCC Team; Deceuninck Quick-Step; EF Education First; Lotto Soudal; Mitchelton-SCOTT; Team INEOS; Team Jumbo-Visma; Team Sunweb; Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates.