Stavanger, Norway – Cycling fans around the world are gearing up for the second edition of the Hammer Series, with the revolutionary event set to begin in Stavanger, Norway this weekend.
The joint-partnership between Infront and Velon, the business venture aimed at bringing cycling closer to the fans, made its debut in Limburg, the Netherlands last year to great success and has expanded to three stops for 2018.
Hammer Series was designed to give fans the chance to see the best teams in the world race up-close, and unlike traditional stage-based races, the action is provided in an innovative team-versus-team format. Instead of individual riders aiming to make the podium, Hammer Series pits squads of five riders against each other over extremely testing courses to determine the best team. Last year, over three million cycling fans watched the racing online, including 1.4 million on Facebook in the inaugural event live from Limburg.
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Along with watching the action, having the races streamed on social media will allow viewers to comment and debate every pedal stroke from Hammer Stavanger, Hammer Limburg and Hammer Hong Kong as they happen.
"After a very successful digital-first approach for the inaugural race in 2017, being able to live stream all three races of the Hammer Series in 2018 across the leading social platforms represents a major milestone for us and perfectly reflects the digital essence of Infront's and Velon's project," said Mark Buttermann, Director of Summer Sports at Infront. "This will enable Hammer Series to engage with even more fans and provide them with live thrilling content and data for free on any device, anywhere and at any time."
In addition to live streaming, fans discussing the race on Twitter will be able to utilise the #HammerSeries hashtag and access a unique emoji.
European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), 2018 Tour of Flanders winner Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors), Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) and 2018 Tour Down Under winner Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) will all race at Hammer Stavanger.
An equally star-studded line-up was also announced for Hammer Limburg.
Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) will be riding straight from the defence of his Giro d’Italia title and will be joined by Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team), multiple stage race winner Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) and two-time Monument Classic winner John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo).
"The line-up of riders taking part in Hammer Stavanger is fantastic," said Roy Hegreberg, race director, Hammer Stavanger. "To have multiple national champions mixing it up with Classics riders in the forms of their lives should make for really exciting racing. I'm confident the riders will enjoy riding on the very best roads Stavanger has to offer and it will make a memorable experience for fans and viewers alike."
Infront is responsible for media and sponsorship sales for the Hammer Series on an international basis. Furthermore, it is handling together with Velon the event - as well as the brand management for the entire event series. An integral part of this joint collaboration was also the strategic concept and development of the Hammer Series with its new and attractive race format.
Infront is a leading sports marketing company managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events, including the distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production, event operation and digital solutions. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 1,000 staff working from over 40 offices across more than 13 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of top class sport around the world every year. In 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Group, part of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group.