Ireland confirms team for elite world road race championships, Bennett and Brammeier to join Roche and Martin
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ireland confirms team for elite world road race championships, Bennett and Brammeier to join Roche and Martin

by Shane Stokes at 12:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Deignan confirmed as missing race due to injury

Sam BennettCycling Ireland has confirmed that Philip Deignan will indeed miss the world road race championships as a result of the fractured collarbone he suffered yesterday, and has named the complete squad for the elite men’s road race.

One place had previously remained to be filled but with Deignan now out, two slots have been allocated. In form 22 year old Sam Bennett has been named to one of those, the An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly rider getting the nod after stage placings of second and tenth on stages of the Tour of Britain this week.

The remaining place on the team will be taken up by quadruple Irish road race champion Matt Brammeier (Champion System), who had been hoping to gain selection after missing out on the Olympic Games.

He has also shown good form in recent weeks. The duo will be tasked with helping to protect the team leaders Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo Tinkoff). Both are regarded as medal contenders as a result of their strong form.

“Obviously we will have more hope this year than other years that there will be a top ten finisher,” Cycling Ireland CEO Geoff Liffey told VeloNation. However he accepted that the riders themselves will aim higher. “A medal is always possible, it depends on the way the race plays out and what condition the others riders in the race come out of the Vuelta and the Tour of Britain. But a medal is more possible this year than other years.

“Dan seems to have recovered from his crash in the Vuelta. It might have actually been to his benefit, he avoided some bad weather in that race. His morale is very good.”

Martin won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic in April of this year, following up his earlier win in the Volta a Catalunya, and then went on to win a mountain stage in the Tour de France.

He had hoped to do the same in the Vuelta a España but crashed out with concussion. He’s fortunately recovered well and is showing signs of very good form in the Tour of Britain, attacking twice this week. He will hope to push for the leader’s jersey in the next two days, which feature terrain more suited to his climbing strengths.

His first cousin Roche has also been riding impressively well. He won a stage and briefly led the Vuelta a España, and finished a career-best fifth overall in that event on Sunday.

That performance shows that he too will be in the hunt for a medal on the worlds course in Florence. It’s regarded as the toughest course in several years, with the hilly profile certain to whittle things down.

Bennett and Brammeier will be required to keep the two team leaders in the best position during the early and middle part of the event, helping them to save as much energy as possible for the finale.

Philip Lavery, who had also been in the running for selection, has been named as a reserve.

Liffey said that the team lineup was still being weighed up before Deignan’s misfortunate fall. “We were in middle of deciding the selection when the news of Philip’s crash came through,” he said.

“It is very unfortunate for him and we are disappointed for him. I guess in a way it has created an opportunity for somebody else who wouldn’t have got to ride the worlds. I still think we have a very strong team.”

Asked how the final selection was made, Liffey didn’t want to give specifics. However he said that many considerations were made. “Philip Lavery was very close. We were delighted to see his progress this year. There were a multitude of factors that made up the decision. The opinions of the ProTour guys were also part of it.”

In terms of other events, Roche will compete in the Elite time trial. He told VeloNation recently that he wanted to ride that event in order to continue his progression in that discipline.

The Irish squad will also include female elite riders Mel Spath and Olivia Dillon, the juniors Eddie Dunbar, Dylan Foley and Mark Downey plus the Under 23 TT entrants Ryan Mullen and Marcus Christie.

Liffey looks to the latter race as one where there could also be a prominent Irish result. “We will be hopeful that one of the under 23 riders would have the chance of a top ten in the time trial,” he said.

“In the junior races, Eddie Dunbar would be the protected rider, so to speak. Top thirty would be a good result for him in what is his first year in that category. As for the other events, we will have a better idea of what to expect closer to the race.”

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