Brammeier grabs third successive Irish road race title in Clonmel
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brammeier grabs third successive Irish road race title in Clonmel

by Shane Stokes at 5:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, National Championships, Video
Roche and Lavery net silver and bronze

Matt BrammeierTiming his final attack perfectly and kicking clear with less than three kilometres to go, Omega Pharma Quick Step rider Matt Brammeier soloed to victory today in the Irish road race championship in Clonmel. The 27 year old reached the line five seconds ahead of the 2009 champion Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale), while Philip Lavery (Node4 Giordana) finished four seconds further back and took both the bronze medal and also the under 23 title.

Martyn Irvine (RTS Racing), who had also been part of the decisive four man group in the second half of the race, was distanced on the final big climb after being clear alone for almost a full lap, and finished 40 seconds back in fourth. He rode very strongly but the muscle bulk the future Olympian has built up for the omnium made the climbs a little too tough.

Brammeier was delighted with the result. “I really wanted to win today, more than any other year. So to win was really special,” he told VeloNation after the finish. “It is tough having to follow every attack in the race – it was a long, hard race. I was in the front group every time and managed to hold on until the end.”

He said that he he wanted to prove a point, most likely referring to the fact that he was passed over for selection for the Olympic road race. The success saw him take his third Irish road race title in a row, a superb achievement.

He and Roche were the only ProTeam riders in the race and were watched by many. However Roche made a tactical error early on when he missed out on a big move which went clear on the first lap. He had to chase for a long time and while he eventually managed to get up to the others, he wasted valuable energy which he could have used later on in the race. The Ag2r La Mondiale rider had been determined to reclaim the jersey prior to starting the Tour de France next weekend, but had to make do with a silver medal instead.

“I’m obviously disappointed but happy as well – the day didn’t start as well as I thought and I was chasing for most of the day. So coming back and making the right move…missed feelings,” he said. “The effort of the chase was still in my legs at the end so that made it tough. I did a few attacks but they came back to me each time.

“Anyway, Matt was very strong, and attacked at just the right time.”

Lavery was third but managed to get a jersey of his own, winning the Under 23 title. He was clearly very happy about that. “It means everything to me. Anybody who knows me knows how hard I work, and how tough the last year and a half has been for me. For me, finishing third and taking the under 23 title – I have dreamed about this all season. All season this has been a goal. I have done what I set out to do and that just feels amazing.”

Irvine came through in fourth, disappointed not to get a medal, but also knowing that he had ridden a very good race and looks to be on course for a good Olympic campaign.

Former An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team-mate Sean Downey was fifth, five minutes 45 seconds behind Brammeier, and was second in that U23 contest, while Jack Wilson (USC Crabbe) was third. Eurocycles were best team.

More reactions to follow....

How the race played out:

A total of 84 riders lined out this morning for the Elite and under 23 road race championships in Clonmel. They faced nine laps of an 18.6 kilometre circuit, which included undulating roads and two tougher drags. It took in several kilometres of the same roads as yesterday’s women’s and veterans’ championships, but was run off in much nicer weather.

After several unsuccessful attacks by riders, Damien Shaw (Lakeside Wheelers) got a gap after fourteen kilometres and was joined soon afterwards by twelve others. They were defending champion Matt Brammeier (Omega Pharma Quick Step), Conor Dunne (VL Technics), Mike Ryder (Galway Bay), Thomas Martin (Eurocycles), Philip Lavery (Node4 Giordana), Sean Downey (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly), Connor McConvey (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly), Fiachra O’Mhuire (DID Dunboyne), Paidi O’Brien (Dan Morrissey Speedy Spokes), Sean Lacey (Dan Morrissey Speedy Spokes), Martyn Irvine (RTS Racing) and Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly).

Going over the finish line for the first time, the gap between break and bunch was 53 seconds. The gap increased to a minute and then two of the big guns who missed it, Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Sam Bennett (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) set off in pursuit along with Mark Dowling (DID Dunboyne). Adam Armstrong (Eurocycles) and Peter Hawkins (IG Sigma Sport) then got across to make it a five man chasing group.

They rode hard in pursuit but at the end of lap two, were still 56 seconds back and facing a tough time to get back on terms. The main bunch was losing ground steadily, and was one minute 40 seconds behind at that point.

Hawkins sat up from the chase group, leaving four trying to get across. Armstrong and Dowling slipped back on the day’s second climb, Colonel’s Hill, but rejoined on the descent. Dowling would lose contact again soon afterwards and this reduced the chase to just, Roche, Bennett and Armstrong.

The gap continued around a minute for some time but on lap four, it suddenly started to come down. The trio bridged on the next ascent of Colonel’s Hill, and Roche immediately went to the front and attacked. This had the effect of putting Armstrong out the back, ending his chances.

After the top, Roche, Brammeier, Lavery, McConvey, O’Brien and McLaughlin were clear and being chased by Dunne, Bennett, Downey, O’Mhuire, Shaw and Irvine. The latter succeeded in bridging and this created a lead group of twelve riders heading towards the end of lap four.

Going through the town for the start of lap five, Irvine and Shaw clipped away. Brammeier, Lavery and Downey jumped across and together the five opened a fifteen second advantage. Roche surged to try to bridge, McConvey and O’Brien got across and together they chased for several kilometres. Roche and O’Brien then managed to rejoin those up front after 79 kilometres, while McConvey was left a few seconds behind and still trying to close.

Meanwhile Lavery had had problems with his seatpost, which he slipped down after doing the same earlier in the race. He received help and was able to continue.

Just before the fifth ascent of Colonel’s Hill, Irvine jumped away and held a lead going onto the climb. Lavery jumped across, then Roche and Brammeier joined soon afterwards.

Downey had also got across to the bigger group and he too tried to bridge to the four leaders, but fell short of doing so. He chased hard for some time, then decided to sit up and wait for McConvey, O’Brien and Shaw. That led to two groups of four riders on the road, with the latter gradually losing time and dropping to over a minute behind.

The race continued in that pattern for some time, with the four leaders remaining together and rolling through, and the chasers slipping further and further back. With two laps to go those chasers were one minute 57 seconds back and clearly out of the picture; the medals would be decided by those up front.

Roche attacked on the first of the two big drags on the circuit, launching a move designed to test the legs of the others. It was covered but he kicked again the second time up Colonel’s Hill and put the others under pressure. Brammeier and then Lavery got up to him, but Irvine went over the summit eight seconds back. He has done a lot of gym work to help his track career and his additional muscle bulk made it difficult for him on the climb.

He chased back on and once he bridged, decided to go on the offensive. He attacked hard after 141 kilometres of racing and continued to gain time, crossing the line for the penultimate time with a lead of thirteen seconds. This went up to twenty-two seconds, giving him a good buffer. However the others knuckled down and managed to bridge by the base of Colonel’s Hill.

Lavery jumped going up it, then Roche pushed to the front going over the top. The three remained together, though, but the accelerations put paid to Irvine’s chances and he slipped further and further back.

Heading into the final five kilometres, Lavery attacked, was caught, and went again. The other two got up to him and then with just over two kilometres remaining, Brammeier kicked hard and went clear. Roche and Lavery chased but were unable to get back to him, with the defending champion holding his advantage all the way to the line and sealing a superb third consecutive victory.

Cycling Ireland road race championships, Clonmel:

Elite/Under 23 road race:

1, Matt Brammeier (Omega Pharma Quick Step) 167.4 kilometres in 4 hours 4 mins 25 secs
2, Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) at 5 secs
3, Philip Lavery (Node4 Giordana) at 9 secs
4, Martyn Irvine (RTS Racing) at 50 secs
5, Sean Downey (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) at 5 mins 45 secs
6, Connor McConvey (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) at 6 mins 26 secs
7, Paidi O’Brien (Dan Morrissey Speedy Spokes)
8, Damien Shaw (Lakeside Wheelers) both same time
9, Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) at 7 mins 57 secs
10, Adam Armstrong (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) at 8 mins 6 secs
11, Fiachra O’Mhuire (DID Dunboyne) same time
12, Jack Wilson (USC Crabbe) at 8 mins 16 secs
13, Ryan Sherlock (Cycleways CC) at 10 mins 14 secs
14, Charles Prendergast (Cunga CC) at 10 mins 27 secs
15, Colm Cassidy (UCD) at 11 mins 43 secs
16, Christopher Reilly (Bohermeen CC) at 11 mins 45 secs
17, Thomas Martin (Eurocycles) same time
18, Fraser Duncan (Eurocycles) at 13 mins 14 secs
19, Patrick Clarke (Terra Footwear) same time
20, Dominic Jelfs (Hennebont Cycling) at 13 mins 17 secs

Under 23:

1, Philip Lavery (Node4 Giordana) 4 hours 4 mins 34 secs
2, Sean Downey (An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly) a 5 mins 36 secs
3, Jack Wilson (UCS Crabbe) at 8 mins 7 secs

Team: Eurocycles (Adam Armstrong, Tomas Martin, Fraser Duncan)


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