Mitchelton-Scott successfully held on to their lead to claim the Hammer Series 2018 title in Hong Kong on Sunday.
The Australian team led ahead of Quick-Step Floors heading into the final round of the three-event series, with the teams having won in round one in Stavanger, Norway and round two Limburg, the Netherlands respectively.
Unlike the previous events, the Hammer Series took place on just one day in the heart of Hong Kong with a Hammer Sprint and a Hammer Chase to decide the overall winners.
The Hammer Sprint
Mitchelton-Scott put themselves in a commanding position after winning the Hammer Sprint at the start of the day. Neither they or Quick-Step scored top points in the first four laps of the event, but Roger Kluge was able to come through on lap five to take an early maximum.
They jumped into top spot just one lap later, taking double points on lap six with Cameron Meyer coming through first and Luka Mezgec in third.
Quick-Step were then able to score maximum points on lap seven, eight and nine and by the end of the race, looked as though they may have won ahead of Mitchelton-Scott.
However that result was changed shortly after the finish as it was revealed some riders from Quick-Step had rejoined the leading group a lap after having punctured.
That left Mitchelton-Scott as winners of the opening chase by around 28 points over Quick-Step, with Bora-Hansgrohe in third place.
Result: Hammer Sprint
1 Mitchelton-Scott (Aus)
2 Quick-Step Floors (Bel)
3 Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger)
4 Lotto-Soudal (Bel)
5 Team Sunweb (Ger)
The Hammer Chase
That result in the sprint meant it was Mitchelton-Scott who were first to leave the start in the chase, with Quick-Step leaving shortly after and needing to hunt them down to win the overall title.
A strong opening lap from Mitchelton-Scott saw them take the advantage and they were able to hold off Quick-Step, with their advantage at 25 seconds.
That began to come down as the five-lap race went on, with three laps to go the gap standing at 13 seconds. Quick-Step were going all out to try and catch the team up front. It came down to the wire in the final lap, but in the end they just fell short of catching Mitchelton-Scott before the line.
Neither team were able to set the fastest time over the 21.3km course however, with Tom Dumoulin’s Team Sunweb finishing in a time of 27-07 having set off in fourth place. Quick-Step were second fastest at 27-16 with Mitchelton-Scott at 27-18. BMC Racing were the fastest team from the runners-up group, with a time of 27-34.
“It is a really good way to round out the season,” said Mitchelton-Scott’s Cameron Meyer at the finish.
“It is an important event for us, it is big in the world of cycling. For us to win the series is really important and to finish it off in such a big city like Hong Kong is really good.
“I am pretty wrecked, we didn’t have much rest between the Hammer Sprint and the Hammer Chase so it is a hard format. It is exciting race and I think the fans enjoy it and the riders really get in to it.”
Result: Hammer Chase
1 Team Sunweb (Ger), in 27-07
2 Quick-Step Floors (Bel), at 9s
3 Mitchelton-Scott (Aus), at 11s
4 BMC Racing (USA), at 27s
5 Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger), at 31s
Final overall classification
1. Mitchelton-SCOTT 281.0 pts
2. Quick-Step Floors 234.1 pts
3. Team Sunweb 152.7 pts