An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly team rider Matt Brammeier grabbed an important success for the squad today when he won the Irish elite men's road race championship in Sligo.
The 25-year-old got the better of pre-race favourite and defending champion Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale), jumping early inside the final 500 metres and then showing his strength when he held off his breakaway companion. He finished several lengths clear.
"This is by far my biggest victory," he said after the podium ceremony. "I didn't expect this at all. I was quietly confident that one of us from the team would win, but though it would be David [O'Loughlin]. He was super-strong today."
Brammeier is from Liverpool but declared for Ireland last year, on the basis that his grandparents are from the country. He has been competing for the Irish national team on the track and also for the Irish-backed An Post squad.
The win is big news for the team, which took second and third twelve months ago. It won two stages in this year's FBD Insurance Rás and will now be able to boast a national champion in its ranks.
Roche had wanted to wear the champion's jersey in his second Tour de France, which begins next Saturday. "The race didn't go well enough for me," the disappointed rider said. "Matt was strong…I tried to attack him a few times coming to the finish but couldn't get away from him. He jumped early and I couldn't get back to him."
Roche's cousin and fellow ProTour professional Daniel Martin (Garmin Transitions) outsprinted the Irish time trial champion David McCann (Giant Asia) for third, the duo crossing the line 16 seconds back. Brammeier's team-mate David O'Loughlin took fifth, while Martyn Irvine (Planet X) was sixth.
Promising second-year senior Sam Bennett (VC La Pomme) placed eighth and won the under 23 title, ahead of Dominic Jelfs (UC Aubenas) and Thomas Martin (Eurocycles Eurobaby). The latter squad was best team.
Most of those were part of a breakaway group which went clear inside the first 15 kilometres of the 150.7 kilometre event, and which held off the efforts of the peloton to get back into contention.
Meanwhile Jack Wilson (Audi East Antrim) beat Adam Rayner (Orchard CC), Ewan McDonald (Epic) and four others to take the junior road race. Gavin Keane (Donamon Dynamos), Nathan McLeer (Curran Racing) and Pairic McCafferty (Four Masters) completed the top six.
The Dan Morrissey Carrick Wheelers squad was best team.
Elite road race (11 laps, 150.7 kilometres)
|1||Matt Brammeier (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)|| || |
|2||Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale)|| || |
|3||Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions)||0:00:16|| |
|4||David McCann (Giant Asia)|| || |
|5||David O’Loughlin (An Post Grant Thornton M. Donnelly Sean Kelly)|| || |
|6||Martyn Irvine (Planet X)|| || |
|7||Adam Armstrong (Eurocycles/Eurobaby)|| || |
|8||Sam Bennett (VC La Pomme)|| || |
|9||Sean Lacey (The Edge)|| || |
|10||Connor Murphy (Eurocycles/Eurobaby)|| || |
|11||Dominic Jelfs (UC Aubenas)|| || |
|12||Peter Hawkins (Decock Sportivo)|| || |
|13||Stephen O’Sullivan (Engraveit.ie)|| || |
|14||Pat Clarke (Asfra Racing)|| || |
|15||Thomas Martin (Eurocycles Eurobaby)|| || |
|16||Stuart Henry (Herbal Life Wheelbase)|| || |
|1||Sam Bennett (VC La Pomme)|| || |
|2||Dominic Jefls (UC Aubenas)|| || |
|3||Thomas Martin (Eurocycles Eurobaby)|| || |
|1||Jack Wilson (Audi East Antrim)||2:40:58|| |
|2||Adam Rayner (Orchard CC)|| || |
|3||Ewan McDonald (Epic)|| || |
|4||Gavin Keane (Donamon Dynamos)|| || |
|5||Nathan McLeer (Curran Racing)|| || |
|6||Pairic McCafferty (Four Masters)|| || |
|7||Brian Hallisey (Dungarvan)|| || |
|8||Stephen Clancy (Limerick)||0:03:40|| |
|9||Luke McGuire (Wexford Wheelers)|| || |
|10||Andrew Bracken (Slipstream)|| || |