Brammeier continues comeback with top 10 in Namur

Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans) continued her return to racing this weekend with a top 10 in the women's Cyclo-cross World Cup round in Namur, Belgium.

The British cyclo-cross champion crashed out of the European Cyclo-Cross Championships in October, suffering from a concussion and a hip fracture. After a period of rest she has begun to find her form as she heads towards the World Championships, which take place in January of 2017. Brammeier won her maiden World Cup event in Namur in 2015.

"Of course I'm not where I'd imagined I'd be this time of year a few months ago but in the real world sometimes shit happens and goals and ambitions have to shift a little," she told Cyclingnews.

"Looking towards my big focus I'm actually feeling pretty confident and strong at where I'm at the moment. I must admit it's sometimes a little hard to take, not being able to fight for the wins like I usually am but I just have to remind myself what I've been through and remember what I said a few weeks ago. Every race I get to is an absolute bonus."

One bonus is that the Olympian is over the worst from her November crash, with no lingering health issues to speak of.

‘Luckily not, as most people know with Matt [ed. husband, Matt Brammeier] having a few bad accidents in the last few years, one of the positives to take from that is knowing to take your time. I was only going to return to racing when I knew I was 100 per cent recovered, healthy and ready to compete again.

Brammeier has raced the 2016 season at full-tilt, balancing her passion and talent for ‘cross racing with her desire to transition onto the road. She made the switch this year and gained selection for the Olympic Games road race in Rio, where she helped teammate Lizzie Deignan.

"I don't have any regrets of how I planned my season phases. My big dream was to make it to Rio and do a good job there. I realised that dream and then my focus switched back to my cyclo-cross. Unfortunately I took a bit of a knock, but I'll be back to where I want to be pretty soon I hope."

Brammeier has also come off the back of a Boels-Dolmans training camp, where she and her team began to sketch out plans for next season. Although the ‘cross Worlds remain the short-term goal, she has yet to confirm the rest of her programme.

"My 2017 'cross goal is simple. World 'cross championships. I want to be in the best shape possible and go all out to be on the podium. As far as the road goes I'm a little unsure still. I guess the crash at the Euros has changed my outlook a little. My thoughts now are that I'll likely prolong my 'cross season as long as possible and go into the first classics with my cross form still in full swing. After that I'll need to take a bit of down time and look at returning sometime in the middle of the road season.

"I know how long a season can be on the road and how important it is to have a strong team all year round, especially now with the prolonged WorldTour calendar. I think it can be an added bonus for the team to have an extra set of fresh legs at that time of year. 

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