Strong Quick-Step Floors on Hammer Series opening day
Gianluca Brambilla was among the protagonists in the tough hilly race held in the Limburg region.
In his first outing since Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Gianluca Brambilla was part of the winning move at the first event of the inaugural Hammer Series, an innovative concept revolving around the strength of the team. 16 squads, each comprising five riders, lined up Friday afternoon for the 77km-long race which was set to take them over an undulating circuit made up of 11 laps, with short but punishing climbs ramping up to 8%.
The bunch disintegrated on the first of these laps at the end of which points were allocated to the first ten to cross the line, and Quick-Step Floors was part of the first groups with the likes of Belgium Tour runner-up Rémi Cavagna and Gianluca Brambilla. It was not long after that another selection was forced, only eight riders making the cut once the pace was upped, including the 29-year old Italian, a stage winner last season at both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.
Brambilla scored points on every lap remaining until the finish, including the last one, which had double points in store. Thanks to his valiant effort, Quick-Step Floors concluded the race won by Movistar in seventh place and was awarded four bonus seconds, which means the team will start the sprint leg on Saturday (Sittard-Geelen – Sittard-Geelen, 99.2 kilometers) with a deficit of only 11 seconds on the overall leader.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele