Matt Brammeier fails to make team shortlist for Tour de France
MTN Qhubeka team general manager Brian Smith says Brammeier is on long list for Vuelta a España
Matt Brammeier (right): the former Irish road race champion has never competed in the Tour de France. Photograph: Inpho
Any possibility Ireland could have a record representation of five riders in this year’s Tour de France has been dashed with confirmation from the MTN Qhubeka team that former Irish road race champion Matt Brammeier will not be in the race.
“He is not on the shortlist,” the team’s general manager Brian Smith told The Irish Times. “We had 13 riders, now down to 11 riders. Matt has unfortunately not made it onto that last. In terms of a Grand Tour, he is on the long list for the Vuelta now.”
Brammeier has never ridden the Tour but said earlier this year he hoped he could make selection for the race. However, as Smith explains, the team’s wildcard invitation to the event is mostly due to its identity as an African squad.
While some international riders will make the cut, the selection will be largely influenced by that. “With making history as the first African team, we really have to look after the African riders,” said Smith. “So there will be a higher element of African riders in the team than not. It is only fair that happens. And that is what [Tour organiser] ASO have pushed us down as well.”
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Making the Vuelta a España team will now be Brammeier’s goal, though; that would mark a first Grand Tour for him, and would continue his progress in the sport.