Brammeier defeats Lavery and Shaw to take record fourth Irish road race crown
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Brammeier defeats Lavery and Shaw to take record fourth Irish road race crown

by Shane Stokes at 6:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, National Championships
Champion System rider prevails at end of tactical, testing race

Matt BrammeierDefending champion Matt Brammeier made history Sunday when he won his fourth consecutive Irish road race championship title, becoming the first Irish elite rider to do so.

The Champion System professional outsprinted Philip Lavery (Amicale Cycliste Bisotine) and Damien Shaw (Aqua Blue) to the line in Carlingford, winning the thirteen lap, 169 kilometre race after the three of them had pushed ahead in the final hour of racing.

Brammeier had worked hard in the buildup to the race, taking a break from competition in order to ensure that he could fine-tune his form and was fresh. Things played out perfectly for him and once again he hit the line first to take gold.

“I am pretty happy, I really didn’t expect it. I say that every year but I managed to pull it off. I am pretty happy,” he smiled at the finish.

Brammeier and Lavery were aggressive from the drop of the flag, going clear early on with Irish pro Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) and then being an integral part of a bigger breakaway which formed.

The eventual race winner explained afterwards that it was a deliberate tactic to make things hard early on. “It was because of the course…it wasn’t as hard as previous years,” he said. “As well, the other WorldTour guys weren’t here so it was a little bit harder to make the selection, it took a bit longer. It took such a long time for that break at the end to stick. I think it only went in the last thirty kilometres or something, and even then we had to keep going to the line because they were pretty close behind. It was the hardest one of the four for sure.”

The race was one where gaps remained tight and there was a constant reshuffling of the riders at the head of affairs. The crucial move went with three laps to go when Shaw kicked clear. Brammeier, Lavery and Conor Dunne (VL Techniks Abutriek) bridged across and opened a clear advantage.

Dunne slipped back on the penultimate lap but the other three continued on to the finish, where Brammeier jumped hard, went the far side around a traffic island to wrong-foot Lavery, and then blasted home first.

Lavery commented on the outcome on the podium. “There is no gold medal for attacking out the road. I am actually pretty disappointed with that – I’m really, really disappointed,” he said.

“Matthew [Brammeier] was going really well. Damien is really, really strong, probably just lacking the race speed that we would have. He didn’t really show it right at the end there, he was very honest, a very good competitor.

“Hats off to Matthew today, he had the perfect tactic in the sprint. He was stronger, what can you do with that? You can’t do anything.”

Shaw is based in Ireland and unlike the other two, isn’t a full time bike rider. In that light his performance was one of the most impressive of the day, not least because several pros and internationals were behind him at the finish.

“I am delighted, absolutely delighted,” he smiled, weary but satisfied. “A lot of people told me that the course suits me. I think the day that was in it just made it for tough riding. I know that domestically I have performed well on hard days – wet, wind, stuff like that. I am delighted now.”

How it played out:

As expected, there was plenty of attacking and aggressive riding in the elite road race, which saw professionals, international riders and many of the country’s top domestic riders going head to head on a flat-to-rolling thirteen kilometre circuit in Carlingford.

After a flurry of early attacks an important move pushed clear on the second lap when defending champion Matt Brammeier (Champion System), Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare), Philip Lavery (Amicale Cycliste Bisotine) and Damien Shaw (Aqua Blue) clipped away.

Shaw would drop back to the chase group of Sam Bennett (An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly), David McCann (Synergy Baku) and Conor Dunne (VL Techniks Abutriek) and Damien Shaw (Aqua Blue), who were twenty six seconds back just after the start of lap four, while the main field was a further 38 seconds behind.

The chasers continued to work hard to try to get across and at the start of lap five, were just fifteen seconds back. Shaw was finding the pace a bit much and was dropped, temporarily reducing the number in the chase group to three. However this went back up to four when Deignan crashed out of the lead break, slipping on a corner in Carlingford town.

Behind, ten chasers were riding hard to try to get across. They were Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly), Anthony Walsh (Astellas Oncology), Patrick Clarke (Castlebar CC), Neil Delahaye (DID Dunboyne), Dominic Jelfs (Madison Genesis), Paidi O’Brien (Planet Tri), Mark Dowling (Polygon Sweet Nice), Aaron Buggle (Rapha Condor), Jack Wilson (An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly) and Stephen Clancy (Team Novo Nordisk).

Deignan, Dunne, Bennett and McCann continued to ride hard in pursuit and at the end of that lap were just eleven seconds back. However they were reeled in by the chasers three kilometres into lap six. After some jumping around out front, the junction with the leaders was eventually made after 72 kilometres, creating a sixteen man front group.

Straight away, McCann attacked and was joined by Brammeier and Buggle. This forced a split but things came back together. McLaughlin then attacked and held a slight lead heading towards the finish. The others eventually got across, as did Shaw, Conor Murphy, Lavery, Olan Barrett (Aqua Blue), O’Brien, McCann and Wilson.

Constantly changing lead group:

There was no clear pattern to the race by that point, aside from Brammeier and Lavery being present in most of the key moves. The fluctuations continued for some time as the strong riders tested each other and tried to get the right combination clear.

Jelfs was riding well and clipped away early on lap seven. He held a solo advantage for a short time, then was joined by first Brammeier, Buggle and Dunne, then Lavery, O’Brien, McCann and Wilson.

The latter found the going a little tough and slipped back, but his place was taken by his An Post Sean Kelly Chainreaction team-mate Ronan McLaughlin. However there was a further reshuffling when the group behind got back up to them again.

Just before halfway distance, Brammeier and McLaughlin pushed ahead and drew clear a group also containing Deignan, McCann, Buggle, Lavery and O’Brien. This too came back, after which Murphy put his head down and opened up a good solo lead.

Behind, Buggle’s saddle had worked lose and needed to get mechanical assistance; this would cause him to lose his place towards the front of the race.

Murphy was joined by Brammeier, Lavery, McCauley, McCann and Deignan and had a 45 second advantage by the end of lap eight. Dunne jumped clear of the chasing group behind, but was eventually picked up by sixteen others, namely McLaughlin, Shaw, Walsh, Clarke, Delahaye, Gary Jeffers (East Tyrone), Thomas Martin (Eurcycles), Jelfs, Colm Cassidy (OCTTO Cervelo), O’Brien, Dowling, Sherlock, Cathal Moynihan (Tralee Manor West), Cormack Clarke (Newry Wheelers), Wilson and Clancy.

Of those, Clarke, Wilson, Clandy and Dunne were all under 23 riders and thus thinking of that championship as well.

Deignan had been riding well but suddenly dropped back, perhaps suffering the after-effects of his earlier crash. Jelfs and Dunne took his place in the front group, although the bridging effort proved fruitless as the move was soon reeled in.

The final showdown plays out:

Shaw was in a determined mood and decided to strike out with three laps to go. This proved to be the crucial break; Brammeier, Lavery and Dunne then bridged across and opened a clear advantage over an eighteen man chase group. From those, McLaughlin, Martin, O’Brien and Sherlock clipped away and were 21 seconds behind, chasing hard.

The four leaders continued to push hard on the penultimate lap; the chase group wasn’t about to give up, though, and kept the gap relatively tight. McLaughlin jumped ahead of those, trying to bridge, but couldn’t break the elastic. He was reeled in halfway around that lap, by which time the gap was eighteen seconds and falling.

Aware that the gap was closing, those out front accelerated to increase it once again. Dunne was put under pressure and then distanced by the change of pace, with his endurance likely affected by the time spent off the bike after his recent fractured elbow.

Sherlock was feeling good and attacked from the chase group as they left Carlingford on the final lap. McLaughlin and O’Brien got up to him, making it three chasing three as the closing kilometres clicked down.

Out front, Lavery was doing a lot of the driving. Brammeier was also contributing, while Shaw missed some turns but came through when he could.

Heading into the final kilometre, Brammeier positioned himself on his main rival’s wheel and jumped hard just as they moved past a traffic island, veering right to arc around the far side and temporarily catching Lavery off guard.

The latter chased hard in the remaining 200 metres to the line but was unable to get past; Brammeier thus won his fourth consecutive national title, while Shaw rolled in 21 seconds back for a very well-earned third.

O’Brien was quickest in the gallop for fourth, leading McLaughlin and Sherlock in 46 seconds after the winner. Further back, Wilson, Clarke and Dunne were scrapping it out for the under 23 title and crossed the line in that order, netting gold, silver and bronze in placing thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.

Irish road race championships, Carlingford:

Elite road race:

1, Matt Brammeier (Champion Systems Pro Cycling Team) 169 kilometres in 4 hours 9 mins 32
2, Philip Lavery (Amicale Cycliste Bisontine)
3, Damien Shaw (Aqua Blue) at 21 secs
4, Paidi O’Brien (Planet Tri Racing Team) at 46 secs
5, Ronan McLaughlin (An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly Team)
6, Ryan Sherlock (Polygon Sweet Nice)
7, Dominic Jelfs (Madison Genesis) at 53 secs
8, Colm Cassidy (OCTTO-Cervélo Team) at 55 secs
9, Patrick Clarke (Castlebar CC) at 1 mins 4
10, David McCann (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) at 1 mins 36
11, Gary Jeffers (East Tyrone) at 1 mins 52
12, Connor Murphy (Eurocycles) at 1 mins 56
13, Jack Wilson (An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly Team) at 2 mins 13 *
14, Cormac Clarke (Newry Wheelers) *
15, Conor Dunne (Vl Technics – Abutriek) *
16, Thomas Martin (Eurocycles) at 2 mins 17
17, Alastair MacAulay (Phoenix CC)
18, Cathal Moynihan (Tralee Manor West BC) at 3 mins 54
19, Bryan McCrystal (Cuchulainn CC) at 4 mins 30
20, Ryan Mullen (Team IG – Sigma Sport) at 5 mins 7 *
21, Stephen Clancy (Team Novo Nordisk) at 7 mins 37 *
22, Neill Delahaye (DID Dunboyne CC)
23, Con Collis (UCD CC) at 8 mins 39
24, Sean Lacey (Aqua Blue) at 9 mins 23
25, Ciaran O’Conluain (UCD CC)
26, Tim O’Regan (DID Dunboyne CC) at 9 mins 24
27, David Wherity (Stamullen M Donnelly RC) at 9 mins 29
28, John Mannix (Killarney Cycling Club) at 9 mins 55
29, Keith Gator (Aqua Blue) at 9 mins 56
30, Fergus Rooney (Phoenix CC) at 10 mins 3
31, Marc Potts (Omagh Wheelers) at 11 mins 19 *
32, Aidan Crowley (DID Dunboyne CC)
33, Derek Finnegan (Keevan CC)
34, John Kenny (Navan Road Club)
35, Javan Nulty (DID Dunboyne CC) *
36, Stephen Murray (Dungarvan CC)
37, Eoin Greene (Iverk Produce Carrick Wheelers)
38, Aaron O’Donohue (SDCC)
39, Bobby Kane (Bann Wheelers CC)
40, Eric Downey (Orwell Wheelers)
41, Alex Donald (Phoenix CC)
42, John Dempsey (Iverk Produce Carrick Wheelers)
43, Michael Butler (Visit Nenagh Team DMG)
44, Colin Robinson (Stamullen M Donnelly RC) at 11 mins 24
45, Derek Cunningham (Bray wheelers)
46, Conor McAllister (Chain Reaction Cycles)

Under 23:

1, Jack Wilson (An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team)
2, Cormack Clarke (Newry Wheelers)
3, Conor Dunne ( Vl Technics – Abutriek)
4, Ryan Mullen (Team IG – Sigma Sport)
5, Stephen Clancy (Team Novo Nordisk)
6, Marc Potts (Omagh Wheelers)
7, Javan Nulty (DID Dunboyne CC)

(Thanks to for timing chip data)

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


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