• Carlos Betancur (Movistar) was key to Movistar's victory on the first stage of the Hammer Series - The Climb. (Getty)Source: Getty
A dominant display from Carlos Betancur handed Movistar victory on the first stage and the early lead in the inaugural Hammer Series in Limburg, Netherlands.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Movistar, Velon
3 Jun 2017 - 7:31 AM  UPDATED 3 Jun 2017 - 1:49 PM

The Colombian won seven of the 11 laps amassing nearly all of Movistar's whopping 144.8 points. 

“I have trained so hard in the last couple of months, training at altitude," Betancur said.

"A team like this deserves the form I have here. It was an amazing performance by the team and we came here with the idea of winning.”

"I added lots of mileage to my account this year, trying to get ready for this important part of the season. The team is helping me out a lot to get back on track, and the results from the work we've done lately are really showing today."

Team Sunweb finished second on 98.9 points largely due to Tom Dumoulin who backed up strongly from his Giro d'Italia win to put on a show for his home crowd. 

“That was terrible," the Dutchman said, who didn't win any laps but bagged a series of second and thirds.

"Betancur was flying. He was way more explosive than I after 21 days in the Giro. I still took some shape with me. I went full gas and that’s all I could do today. I’m happy that we’re second.”

Dumoulin and Betancur broke away with Tao Geoghegan Hart (Sky), Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Iuri Filosi (NIPPO Vini Fantini) after the second lap of the seven kilometre circuit in Vaals, the two climbs amounting to a total of 2.9 kilometres of each lap. 

Betancur accelerated away from his breakaway companions to the double points available on lap three and easily took the fourth. Eight more riders managed to then latch on to the leaders, but the Colombian was too good again for the pack on lap five. 

Filosi took lap six while Geoghegan Hart nabbed a deserved victory on bonus lap seven and double the points. By this point, the front bunch had whittled away to seven riders. Betancur then lost his main rival Geoghegan Hart after a crash on lap eight and easily pushed away to win laps eight, nine and 10. 

The last lap didn't go all Betancur's way as teams chased the double points on offer. Geoghegan Hart managed to latch back on to the leaders, then Campenaerts launched a solo attack and looked set to win. But Betancur responded in kind on the final climb punching out a second acceleration in the final 400 metres. 

Betancur's win means Movistar gained 15 bonus seconds, which will contribute to their starting position in Sunday’s Hammer Chase. Team Sunweb collected 12 bonus seconds, while Team Sky gained 10. Teams now face the Hammer Sprint on stage 2, again a points race. 

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