Brammeier takes a fine solo win in a sunny Clonmel
Matt Brammeier (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) has taken his third National Road Race title in a row in the Clonmel this afternoon, Sunday. He proved simply too strong for second-place Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) and Philip Lavery (NODE 4 Giordana).
Martyn Irvine (RTS Racing) was fourth after a brave bid for victory from him was overhauled by the three chasers on the last lap. He was then dropped but to his immense credit was less than 20 seconds back on the line.
Lavery, who rode a great race, takes the U23 crown for his efforts today.
The first four over the line broke clear of a 15-man group as the race had just passed the halfway point. That group started with 12 riders going clear with around 15kms done.
Roche broke clear from the bunch in pursuit of that early breakaway, and was joined Mark Dowling (DID Dunboyne), Adam Armstrong (Eurocycles) and Sam Bennett (An Post-Sean Kelly).
When they closed up to the breakaway an immediate attack by Roche put everybody under pressure, with the group splitting after the period of sustained aggression started by that Roche attack.
Those who pulled clear with Roche were Irvine, Brammeier and Lavery. There was then a four-man chase group behind containing the An Post-Sean Kelly duo of Sean Downey and Connor McConvey, along with Paidi O’Brien (Dan Morrissey-Speedy Spokes) and Damien Shaw (Lakeside).
However, they never looked like getting on terms and from the moment the four leaders went clear it seemed everybody else was racing for the minor placings; with two laps remaining the gap was just under two minutes and growing to the chasing four with the a number of other groups a long way down the road.
On the second last lap Roche put in a number of digs up the climbs. But when he was covered by the others, Irvine attacked a short time later and pulled out a gap which opened to 20 seconds as they passed through Clonmel and out onto the last lap.
By the time they reached the two climbs on the last lap, the effort began to tell on Irvine as he struggled a bit while Roche took up the chase behind. Irvine then paid for his efforts, being overhauled by the others and dropped through that decisive lumpy section.
In the run in Lavery attacked a number of times to try and get clear of the others with 4km to go but his efforts were covered by Roche. Then at the 2km point it was Brammeier’s turn to have a go and when the race reached the finish in Clonmel he was the lone winner – his third national title in a row.
Roche was second and Lavery was third; the latter picking up the U23 title for his efforts. Irvine hung on for a well deserved fourth place after what was a great effort.
That’ll do nicely; Lavery was clearly thrilled with picking up 3rd and taking the U23 National Road Race title
Roche had a good few goes, but he wasn’t shaking Brammeier today