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Brammeier given all clear to start Worlds road race

Posted 22 September 2011


Matt Brammier has been given the all-clear by his team doctor to compete in Sunday’s World Road Race Championships in Copenhagen having recovered from the sore throat that forced him to abandon Wednesday’s elite men’s time trial.

The Irish road and time-trial champion underwent medical tests with his HTC-Highroad doctor this morning (Thursday) and has been told that he his fit to join Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin on the starting line.

The Irish team had considered exercising their option of drafting in David McCann, whom they had named as a reserve rider, to take Brammeier’s place and were obliged to confirm their choice of three starting riders with the UCI by 1 p.m. today.

That deadline was extended to 8 p.m. on Saturday but the Irish team management is satisfied that Brammeier has made a recovery and have advised McCann that they propose to stick with their original selection.

“Matt will ride Sunday’s race with Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin. He has been given the all-clear. He is not 100 per cent, but he is not bad. He is a lot better than Wednesday and he still has a couple of day to recuperate,” said team coach Phil Leigh.

“He was suffering with a sore throat which he most likely picked up from the cold weather during the Tour of Britain. It was not on his chest so he wasn’t coughing phlegm. It was just a small throat irritation that left him off his best,” he added.

“We confirmed that it would be the original starting three but were told we could hold off until 8 p.m. on Saturday. David is still an option but it is highly unlikely he will ride considering Matt has been given the all clear and that he is recovering well,” Leigh continued.

Roche and Martin arrived at the team camp today and all three riders will use the coming days to inspect the course and to consider their race strategy for the event which comprises 17 laps of a 14 kilometre long circuit.

“It is like a Belgian kermese course. It has a punchy climb to the finish. You come around a right-hander and there is a 5% or 6% incline up to the finish. It is a long drag, not incredibly steep, but it will hurt at the end of a long race,” said Leigh who first inspected the course after last year’s track worlds.

“It is quite a technical course, even after the street furniture has been removed. It is made for a rider like Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) but then there is no reason why a big sprinter like Cavendish (Great Britain) couldn’t be up there if the race was controlled to the finish,” he added.

Leigh is confident that either of the three Irish riders could make the decisive move when it comes but believes that the great challenges they face is to avoid splits in the bunch and not to get caught too far back on the tight course.

“Any one of the Irish riders could go with the move. There will be a breakaway and splits in the bunch when the big guns close that down. We have a hand to play in either scenario,” said Leigh.

“Matt went away in an early break last year and it nearly paid off but I don’t think something like that will happen again. Last year there was no race radios and no one took the initiative to shut the break down. It nearly cost them the race and I’m sure everyone learned from that,” he added.

“With a race this long it is all about riding yourself into the race. The bunch will let a break go and allow it to gain five to ten minutes before pulling it back. It’s all about being there at the end and the three riders are capable of putting themselves in that position,” he said.

Leigh is also confident that Sam Bennett, Philip Lavery and Felix English can be in the shake up in Friday’s U23 road race.

“Lavery and Bennett have been racing 1.1’s and getting up there. They have the legs and the experience and are good at working together. The finishing climb is right for either of them. It is not a mountainous course and both riders have a good kick if it comes down to that,” said Leigh.

“Felix English is young and he is still learning but he is very motivated. Bennett, Lavery and Downey are all moving into their final year under 23 but Felix along with riders like Conor Dunne, Ryan Mullen and Jack Wilson are coming through and ready to take up where they leave off,” he added.


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