Matt Brammeier denied win in Luxembourg after making early break
Multiple Irish road race champion aiming for Vuelta a España ride in August
Matt Brammeier cycling ahead of Conor Dunne in the 2014 National Cycling Championships. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon
Matt Brammeier came close yesterday to winning the first stage of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg, going clear early on with five other riders including the 2014 Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) and then striking out alone near the finish in Celmency.
The multiple Irish road race champion was caught just over two kilometres from the line, with the German sprinter Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) winning the bunch gallop.
Firepower Brammeier was disappointed to miss out, believing it might have been possible to stay clear with a little more firepower in the group.
“It was kind of the first real day of a stage race, everyone gets his chance,” he said, referring to the open tactics of his MTN Qhubeka team. “I just wanted to take the opportunity. I tried a big push at the end with two others but the bunch was coming up to us.
“On the last little climb I was on my own but there were two teams going full gas behind. If there was one more guy with me, giving me a break from being on the front, I might have made it.”
This week Brammeier’s team confirmed the identity of the 11 riders on the shortlist for the Tour de France. He was not listed.
“Of course I wanted to go,” said Brammeier, “but with the big African side of the team, it is difficult. The sponsors wanted the majority of the squad there to be African riders. That’s fine; if it wasn’t for them, we probably wouldn’t have got the wildcard to the race anyway. They are also good bike riders.”
Brammeier has been with a number of top teams in the past but has yet to ride a three week tour. He confirmed that he is in the running for the Vuelta a España in August, and could break his duck there. “I spoke with [manager] Brian Smith a couple of days ago,” he said. “I think he wants me there. I just have to get into good shape beforehand and show it in the races.
“I hope I get to do it. Riding a grand tour has always been something I have been aiming for, something I wanted to do. I was let down a couple of times in the past by teams just before the start of grand tours. It has always been a dream.”
In the weeks ahead, Brammeier has a packed programme and said he wants to make the most of those chances. He’s also committed to riding the Irish championships at the end of June, with a fifth Irish road race championship high on his target list.