Number 19: Roger Hammond
Last year’s position: 18
Roger Hammond did not win a race in 2010. But he was fourth at Paris-Roubaix, the toughest and most iconic one-day race in the world.
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Hammond lives for the spring Classics. That is when he excels and this year he was one of the key figures in Cervélo’s powerful team. He was seventh at the Tour of Flanders, his best result in the event and the first time he’s cracked the top 10.
A week later at Paris-Roubaix he and Thor Hushovd worked in tandem and, once Hushovd went up the road with Juan Antonio Flecha in search of second place, Hammond had to settle for fourth place.
Admittedly, the rest of the season was quiet, in terms of results, but to finish in the top ten at two of the five one-day monuments is a fine achievement.
A little like his contemporary, Jeremy Hunt, Hammond is under-rated by the fans. He’s not a flashy rider. He doesn’t make a splash when approached by the media. In fact, he can be very under-stated. But he is the consummate professional. You do not survive almost 15 years in the peloton without bringing plenty to the table. Hammond has grown into a road captain. He knows the roads, the races and the tactics and he can be relied upon to do the work that needs to be done.
Hammond will be 37 at the end of next month but the fact he was one of the handful of riders picked from the bones of the Cervélo team to go to Garmin-Cervélo speaks volumes for his status in the bunch.
In 2011, he will be part of a line-up that has such strength in depth the battle for places in the starting line-up will be the first challenge. Garmin-Cervélo’s strategy appears to be to completely outgun Fabian Cancellara. And if it comes down to a number’s game, who’s to say Hammond might not be the one to profit?
Cycling Weekly’s Top British Riders of 2010 advent calendar: We will reveal one rider per day behind the virtual doors of our sparkly advent calendar from Wednesday December 1 to Christmas Eve, Friday December 24. The top eight will then be revealed in Cycling Weekly magazine’s final issue of the year, which will be in the shops on December 30 2010.