Video: National champions Brammeier and Spath look forward after weekend triumphs
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Video: National champions Brammeier and Spath look forward after weekend triumphs

by Shane Stokes at 6:25 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, National Championships, Video
Irish riders planning on continuing to race well this season and into 2014

Matt BrammeierHaving both successfully defended the Irish road race championship titles they took last year, Matt Brammeier and Melanie Spath are aiming to ride strongly for the remainder of the season and boost their standings prior to 2014.

Brammeier has been racing with the Champion System team and on Sunday clocked up a record fourth consecutive road race title when he won a three man sprint in Carlingford.

Closely watched by the other competitors in the race, he was nevertheless best in the finale. “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 told VeloNation in the video interview below.

Having first taken the distinctive Irish champion’s jersey in 2010 while he was with the An Post team, then retaining it with HTC Highroad and Omega Pharma Quick Step, he is clear on what effect it has on his visibility.

“I have more presence in the bunch, it definitely helps,” he said. He knows that holding the jersey should boost his chances of securing a new contract when his current deal with Champion System runs out at the end of the year, but he says he is a little undecided about what he wants to do.

“Whether I stay or I go [is the question]…I have been really happy in the team so far, I am enjoying it. On the other hand, I really want to be back in the WorldTour, so I just need to make a decision, see what the interest is and go from there. There is still a long time left until the end of the season, so we will see.”

His goal before then is to ride as well as possible and clock up results where he can. “It is pretty busy, actually,” he said, when asked about his racing programme. “After here [Ireland] I go to Qinghai Lake in China, then there are two stage races in Norway that I will do. Then the London GP, hopefully Tour of Britain and world championships, if the federation will take me.”

As for Spath, she too was very satisfied with her victory at the weekend. Her win in 2012 was a breakthrough result, while this time round it was a confirmation of what she had done before. “Last year I just could not believe I had won,” she told VeloNation. “For me personally, it was probably my biggest result ever. It was my first year road racing properly, and it was a big thing for me…it was amazing.

“I knew going into this race now I would be the defending champion, I would be watched a lot more. Last year people may have said I got away with it because people didn’t watch me, didn’t know if I was strong, because Olivia [Dillon] and Siobhan [Horgan] were playing cat and mouse. But this year I was definitely watched, and it is very nice to win as defending champion. I am very happy with that.”

The former mountain bike rider has been competing this year with Team Tibco in the US and after a testing start, feels that she is settling in much better now.

Mel Spath“It is amazing. I couldn’t be luckier to get onto that team,” she said. “It was tough at the start – racing over there is very different to here. They concentrate a lot on crit racing, circuit racing. It is a skill that I didn’t have when I came over. I had no racing legs, I had done no races when I came over. I was probably not as fit as I should have been coming over but due to finishing my studies [her Phd – ed.], I just hadn’t got to the stage where I would be in good race form.

It took me a few weeks to get into the hang of it. In the beginning I wasn’t able to help the team, but now I am able to help the team. It is really nice to be part of the success when the team does well.”

Spath has good form but unfortunately doesn’t yet know her plan for the rest of the year. She hopes to be given a good programme and to be able to continue performing in the races.

“That I don't know. I think our manager is just thinking about it, figuring out what everyone else is going to do for the rest of the season,” she said. “I know that our team is going to the Giro – unfortunately I am not on the squad. I am just waiting for them to tell me [what’s next].”

Further ahead, she wants to compete with Tibco or another squad in 2014. “I hope I can use all the stuff that I have learned this year, now that I have become useful finally. I would love to keep doing what I am doing.

“Team Tibco is a great team. I’m always open to suggestions, but I like the team, I like the people, I like how it is run. It is good.”


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