Brammeier has been very active during the opening five days of race, going on the attack twice. The Baku rider says he hasn’t got a hard and fast plan as to how he is going to keep the red jersey though. "It’s always hard in races in Asia to go in with a tactic. You have to really read the race and play it by ear on the road on the day," he told Cyclingnews.
Although it may prove tricky if the cramps that spoiled things for him on day one continue to the end of the race. Brammeier says he often suffers from cramps early on in a race, but that he had woken up ahead of the queen stage already in cramp.
"I don’t know what the problem is," he explained. "I cramp a lot on the first day of a race, but it’s keeping going every day. So it’s not a fatigue or a muscle weakness problem. We’re trying to work it out."
Brammeier currently tops the competition by a single point over UnitedHealthcare’s Isaac Bolivar. The Irish national champion is also joined leader of the points competition, but he doesn’t believe that it is possible to still be there at the end of the week.
His aggression at the race will be a calling card to bigger teams, as he looks to return to the professional ranks. The Tour de Langkawi is Brammeier’s first race with Synergy Baku. The Azerbaijani team offered him a ride after his Champion System team folded at the end of last year. The deal was announced late last year, after he had exhausted all other options. Brammeier says that the Baku provided him with a little security as he went on the hunt for a new team, his agent Andrew McQuaid is the brother of the team’s general manager David McQuaid.
"I got worried that I might not find a big team, which I didn’t. I always had this as a back-up plan. They gave me a bit of a safety net. I wasn’t as nervous as I could have been."
Brammeier has had a lot of ups and downs in his career. In 2007 he was hit by a cement mixing lorry and suffered two broken legs, but he fought back. Synergy Baku is Brammeier’s fifth team in as many years. Champion System was the second team to fold on him, after HTC-Highroad, while he discovered that he would no longer continue with Omega Pharma-QuickStep when he read an article in a Belgian newspaper. The four-time Irish road champion remains hopeful that he can come back to the WorldTour, saying he has the skill set to form an integral part of the team.
"Of course I want to be back as a professional rider. I would love to be in a WorldTour team. I can bring a lot of value to a team like that," he said to Cyclingnews. "I can ride on the front and I can ride really well for my teammates. It’s what I’m good at and it’s what I enjoy most. That’s where I want to be, but at the end of the day as long as I’m riding my bike and I’m in big professional races like this and I’m getting a salary then I’m happy."