PARIS (Reuters) - A leading group of elite teams is launching a series of team events that they believe will increase interest in cycling.
The "Hammer Series" will be held in the Limbourg region of the Netherlands from June 1-4, Velon, the race organisers, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Velon is a business venture that features 10 of the 18 World Tour teams. They aim to compete with major organisers such as Tour de France owners ASO, notably to get a bigger share of the TV rights revenue.
The event, launched in partnership with Infront Sports and Media, will be contested in three different kinds of racing -- sprinting, climbing and chasing.
"The Hammer Series will push the world’s best cycling teams to the max across the core cycling disciplines and find the ultimate winner. Its format will bring the most exciting elements of team cycling to a broadest audience," Velon and Infront said in a statement.
The event will be held just before the ASO-owned Criterium du Dauphine, where several Tour de France contenders, including defending champion Chris Froome, will be gearing up for the world's greatest stage race.
Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Larry King