Brammeier looking for fourth National Championship title
Martin and Roche remain in Europe prior to next Saturday’s start to the Tour de France
Matt Brammeier is going for four-in-rowPhotograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho
Winner of the road race for the past three years, Matt Brammeier is aiming for what would be an extraordinary fourth consecutive national championship title this Sunday in Louth.
The Champion System pro rider will be one of the tipped competitors in the 14 lap, 172 kilometre contest, which takes place in and around Carlingford Village. While he has not competed in recent weeks, the 28-year-old performed well in last month’s Tour of California. He was 10th and 14th on stages, and rode aggressively.
“Everything is good, fit and healthy. Fingers crossed for the weekend, I will be all right I hope,” he told The Irish Times yesterday.
Brammeier won the time trial title two years ago, completing a rare double against the clock and in the road race, but missed yesterday’s timed event. “I thought it would be better if I just train and take it easy and focus on the weekend’s race. That’s the important one,” he said.
In his absence, defending champion Michael Hutchinson won the title again, beating former champion David McCann and Colm Cassidy.
The country’s two top riders are missing from the race, with Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) preferring to remain in mainland Europe prior to next Saturday’s start to the Tour de France. Still, there’s a solid lineup, with the in-form riders Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) and Philip Lavery (AC Bisontine) plus the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly quartet of Sam Bennett, Ronan McLaughlin, Sean Downey and Jack Wilson amongst those lining out.
Returns from US
Meanwhile, Melanie Spath (Team Tibco) has returned from racing in the US in a bid to repeat her victory of 12 months ago. She has progressed well in that time and will be a big threat, with former champion Olivia Dillon (Now And Novartis) also crossing the Atlantic for the race. The national championships continue tomorrow with the road races for women and veterans. Defending champion Joe Fenlon (Aqua Blue) will lead the charge in the latter, and showed fine form last month when he won the Tour of Ulster.