Brammeier keyed up for bid for record fourth Irish road race championship title
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Brammeier keyed up for bid for record fourth Irish road race championship title

by Shane Stokes at 3:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, National Championships
 
Champion System rider content with form in advance of today’s race

Matt BrammeierAiming for what would be a record fourth consecutive Irish road race title, Matt Brammeier has said that he believes he is in good shape in advance of what is one of his top targets this season.

“Everything is good, fit and healthy. Fingers crossed, I hope to be going well,” he told VeloNation.

Asked how his form compared to previous years, he said that he wasn’t certain but believed he was in the right place. “It is hard to say, really, because I haven’t raced much. But I have been training pretty well, I feel good and I did a good training block after the Tour of California,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t really know what to expect, but I’ll soon find out.”

Brammeier’s quiet recent programme is partly to his doing. He explained that he had done a lot of travelling, including going to the US for the Tour of California, and didn’t want to take on more of the same prior to the championships.

“I could have done the Tour de Beauce or Korea, but I felt it was a big tight coming back with flying and things like that. So I just decided to stay at home. After the nationals my programme is pretty heavy as well. So it kind of made sense to take it easy for a bit now, on the racing side, as afterwards it is going to be full-on until the end of the year.”

The Champion System rider will begin the road race in Carlingford as the man to beat, having asserted himself ahead of WorldTour riders such as Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin in the past. While neither are in today’s event, he will still have plenty of opposition. Those lining out against him include the Tour of the Gila winner Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare), who recently underlined his good run of form with second overall in the Tour de Beauce.

He will also be up against Philip Lavery (AC Bisontine), the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly quartet of Sam Bennett, Ronan McLaughlin, Sean Downey and Jack Wilson and several others, and will have to be both strong and also tactically astute to triumph.

“I am just going to approach the race as I do every year. To me everyone is a threat. There are a lot of guys who I probably don’t even know who can win the race. To me, everyone can win, especially on this course. It is going to be pretty important to be aware of everyone and not let anyone off.”

The course is flatter than recent championships, with a couple of drags on each lap near Carlingford but nothing of any significant length. Tougher courses can have the effect of thinning out the list of contenders, while the parcours of today’s race could see a lot more riders remaining in with a shout.

However Brammeier believes that if he races well, that a tougher route will not be needed. “I consider myself good at racing my bike. I don’t need a hill to compete with them in the race. I have kind of proven that in the past.

“I just need to race smart, like I do every year, really. I need to treat it like any other race, really, which it kind of is. I know it is nationals and it is important, but at the end of the day it is just another race. I don’t really need to approach it any differently to other years.”

Season performances and goals:

Nationals aside, Brammeier has been setting into his contract with the Champion System team. He moved there after competing with the Omega Pharma Quick Step squad last season and appears satisfied with how things have gone.

“Results wise I have not really done anything huge, but I am kind of happy with how I have adapted to a new way of racing,” he said. “I am a lot more aggressive this year and I am trying to think about myself a little bit more. I think I had a good start to the year in the Classics, I was in a lot of breakaways. It didn’t work out, but I think that is how I have to race.

“I believe that if I keep racing aggressively, keep going in breakaways and taking my chances, one day it will come and it will kind of all be worth it.”

One plus is that he feels he is climbing much better than he had been in the past, with his ride in California confirming that improvement. “I am a little bit lighter, but not massively,” he states, explaining the reasons why he has improved. “I have just changed my training and worked on my threshold power a lot more. That has increased quite a lot.”

If things go to plan, he’ll leave Ireland with another national title and a new champion’s jersey. Next up will be the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China, then the new Artic Tour of Norway plus an additional event in that country. The Tour of Britain is a possibility and, he hopes, the world road race championships in Italy.

Brammeier is currently halfway through a one year contract with Champion System. He’s aiming to perform well in the remaining races in order to underline his value, although he has mixed thoughts on whether or not he would like to find a new squad.

“I don’t know – I’d be happy to stay where I am. It has been a good year, I have enjoyed the team and we have had a very good programme actually, probably better than I have ever had. I did some pretty good races,” he said.

“The only thing is I really miss riding in the WorldTour and doing the top-tier races. But maybe this team is good for me, I don’t know. It is something I need to think about and try to see what options are out there. I just have to think of my future and what is best for the next few years.”

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