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Brammeier mounts fight for Romandie stage win

Posted 27 April 2012

Matt Brammeier made his presence felt on stage three of the Tour de Romandie where he featured in a day long break that ran aground just five kilometres from the summit finish at Charmey.

The Omega Pharma Quickstep rider escaped after ten kilometres with Gatis Smukulis (Katusha), Leigh Howard (GreenEdge), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Belisol) and Anders Lund (Saxo Bank).

The break worked well to establish a lead of five minutes over the third category climb of the Arissoules after 60 kilometres with Brammeier proving that he has regained his condition.

Their lead held firm over the second category Le Chatelard and with little more than 50 kilometres to the finish the Irish national champion stood more than a fighting chance of stage honours.

The combined efforts of Rababank and Dan Martin’s Garmin-Barracuda team cut the deficit to two minutes over the next 35 kilometres which was enough to force Smukulis to attack the breakaway.

He quickly gained a gap of 17 seconds but Brammeier was far from done and set off in pursuit as the race entered the final ten kilometres.

The remaining three breakaway riders hauled him back only to see Brammeier launch another attack which took almost a kilometre to neturalise as Smukulis persevered out front.

The sharp incline on the finishing climb led to Brammeier being distanced from the second group but he clawed his way back up to them as the peloton closed to 1’21” with seven kilometres to the summit.

A strong attack from Garmin-Barracuda’s David Zabriskie caused an immediate reaction in the peloton with the Amerian lying eighth just 12 seconds off the race lead and it was that move which marked the end of Brammeier’s time out front.

Smukulis too was soon brought back but the high tempo set by the Sky team of race leader Bradley Wiggins snuffed out a series of counter attacks from 2010 winner Simon Spilak (Katusha) and Astana riders Roman Kreuziger and Janez Brajkovic.

Dan Martin (Garmin Barracuda) punched his weight towards the head of the peloton as the stage came down to a sprint at the finish where Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) held off Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) by the narrowest of margins with Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) third.

Martin finished the stage in 29th position without losing any time and remains 23 seconds behind Wiggins heading into Saturday’s decisive mountain stage from Bulle to Sion.

The 184 kilometre stage starts with the category two climb of the Col de Mosses after 36.5 kilometres and the Basse-Nendaz before tackling the category one climbs of Veysonnaz and St. Martin enroute to the flat finish.

Results:

Tour de Romandie

Stage 3: La Neuvevulle – Charmey, 157.9 kilometres

1.  Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
2.  Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
3.  Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
4.  Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Barracuda
5.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
6.  Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
7.  Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
8.  Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
9.  Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
10. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun

29. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda - same time
126. Matt Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma Quickstep at 4 minutes, 49 seconds
 
General classification after stage 3:
 
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 12:40:31
 
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:01
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:09
5. Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:11
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
8. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:12
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha Team
10. Molina Ruben Plaza (Spa) Movistar Team
 
39.  Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda at 23 seconds
137. Matt Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma Quickstep at 19 minutes, 48 seconds

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