The innovative Hammer Series will welcome women’s racing to its schedule as it expands into South America in 2020.
The Colombian city of Pereira will host the new round on February 7-9, with the women’s and men’s events following the current Hammer format with Climb, Sprint and Chase disciplines across three consecutive days.
WorldTour teams often race in South America early in the year at established stage races in Argentina and Colombia.
Along with Quindio and Caldas -each scheduled to host the event over the subsequent two years- Pereira sits in Colombia’s ‘coffee triangle’.
“Colombia is the perfect stage for a Hammer race and there’s huge excitement among the teams and riders to race Hammer in such a beautiful, dramatic region of the country,” said Velon CEO Graham Bartlett.
“For a long time we’ve wanted to offer a Hammer race for women and with such strong backing from our hosts in Colombia we’ve finally been able to achieve that. We’re all working to make Hammer Colombia a game-changer in pro-road cycling for the fans.”
Partners to the event are the Colombian Sports Ministry, Coldeportes, and the Ministry of Tourism.
Velon, an organisation owned by a collective of 11 WorldTour teams, first introduced the Hammer Series in the Limburg region of the Netherlands in 2017. Since then it’s expanded to include rounds in Stavanger, Norway and Hong Kong. Although the format of the events can be a little baffling to followers of traditional cycle racing, it is designed to place greater focus on team riding over individual performance.
In line with Velon’s vision for the sport, coverage is streamed online with plentiful rider data. Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quick Step won the two events that have already taken place this year. Mitchelton-Scott were the overall winners of the 2018 series.
“I’ve heard so many great stories about how good cycling is in Colombia so I’m very excited to hear that we will be able to race there from next year,” said Mitchelton-Scott’s Annemiek van Vleuten in a press release issued by the series. “The Hammer Series is a fantastic event with aggressive style racing, which I really like. I’m very happy that we can race in the Hammer Series especially with live broadcasting and streaming online. It’s very good news for women’s cycling.”
Velon was formed in 2014 by the organizations behind Bora-Hansgrohe, CCC, Deceuninck-Quick Step, EF Education First, Lotto-Soudal, Mitchelton-Scott, Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo and UAE-Emirates.
Five of those teams have women’s squads.