Monday, September 27, 2021
HomeInterviewsMatt Brammeier - Three Times Irish Road Champion

Matt Brammeier – Three Times Irish Road Champion

-

Matt Brammeier
Hard work, a dedicated approach and the right tools saw Matt getting back to winning ways with Profel.

It’s ‘all change’ again for Omega Pharma Quick Step’s thrice Irish Elite Road Race champion, Matt Brammeier.

He’s a man who shapes his destiny – abandoning British Cycling’s Academy to walk his own path in Belgium, and his path this time has taken him to Asia’s first Pro Continental squad, Hong Kong’s Champion System.

A few years ago when it became apparent that this move away from the Academy had ruffled feathers and lessened his chances of riding for GB, he took advantage of his Irish ancestry and switched nationalities.

He did this to such good effect that he’s been twice Irish time trial champion and three times – and current – Irish road race champion.

His palmares as a young man were good – he won the British junior road race championship in 2003 and then U23 Dortmund six day in 2004 with Mark Cavendish.

In 2005 he won a stage in the tough Girvan Three Day, held at Easter on the hard roads of SW Scotland.

Season 2006 saw him turn professional in the colours of the Anglo/Belgian DFL team with the Downing brothers.

But for 2007 he ‘went native’ with Belgian team Profel, winning the British U23 time trial title.

He continued to learn his trade through 2008 and for 2009 transferred to the little team with the big programme – Irish/Belgian squad AN Post.

Matt Brammeier
Matt chats to Phil Griffiths, during the British Championships a couple of years ago.

It was their colours he carried to victory in the 2010 Irish road race championship.

His prodigious work rate didn’t go unnoticed and for 2011 he was with ‘Cav’ at HTC; successfully defending his Irish road race title and beating time trial specialists Dave McCann (who earlier broke Chris Boardman’s British 25 mile record) and multiple British time trial champion Michael Hutchinson to win the national time trial title, too.

Left out of a job by the demise of HTC, he was snapped up by Omega Pharma Quick Step for 2012.

But despite being part of the team which dominated one day racing this season, it hasn’t been a great year for Brammeier.

He’s hoping for better things with Champion – he took time to speak to VeloVeritas soon after the deal had been done.

Congratulations on the new contract, Matt – a word we’ve heard a few times regarding your time at QuickStep is, ‘frustration.’

“Yes it was a bit of a nightmare season with injury and sickness – but I guess we all have them and I just have to put it behind me and move on.”

Were there spells – perhaps during Grand Tours – where the programme was light? we saw you rode the pro kermises.

“I was supposed to start the Giro; I used Romandie as my last part of prep, during Romandie the team pulled me from the Giro because I wasn’t going well enough.

“I came out of Romandie flying and ready to race yet I still wasn’t put into another program.

“That was the story of my season really.”

And some of the races you rode didn’t seem to suit you – Romandie, Colorado?

“Romandie was always part of my preparation – Tom Steels and I agreed that I should train hard and then hit Romandie fresh, suffer through it and hit Giro in good shape.

“This is why it was a shock to be pulled – we knew I would suffer, and I did.

“Colorado was torture; we didn’t have the team to be at the race. We started with only five riders; two of us couldn’t climb too well – but Levi was intent on riding so the rest of us got roped into it.

“That was also the end to my Vuelta ambitions having to go there.”

How much notice did you get from QuickStep that they weren’t keeping you?

“I never actually had any contact from the team about 2013.

“Only an article I read in the paper after Colorado informed me about my position there.”

What’s your take on the UCI points situation?

“I this it’s ok; it’s working, but they’re not quite there yet.

“As I’ve said before I think there should be value points awarded to each rider on the team in each point winning situation.

“That way each rider can have a value.

“If a good domestic does his job, normally his leader will score good points; thus leading to the domestique scoring good points – that goes with the whole ethic of cycling being a team sport.”

Matt Brammeier
Matt chats to UCI President Pat McQuaid before the start of Paris-Roubaix. Photo©Barry Ryan.

If you had your time over, would you still take the QuickStep ride?

“No, certainly not – I had a good offer on the table from Argos.

“I certainly would have gone there – they really wanted me for the rider I am, not part of a package.”

Did you avail yourself much of the new training facility, whilst you were on the team?

“I used a bit of the physios there, but we never really used it for training.

“It’s actually not going to be ready for some years yet.”

The Olympics must have been a disappointment, not getting the ride for Ireland – what reasons were you given?

“Same shit; I didn’t have points – you get my drift on points.”

Matt Brammeier
The time at QuickStep didn’t go as Matt envisaged.

How did you get the Champion Systems ride?

“I contacted the team directly and they were immediately interested.”

A national champion’s jersey is a good calling card, is it not?

“You would think so, but without points these days it’s hard to do anything.”

Matt Bremmeier
Matt is looking forward to a better season and winning a race or two.

Three times on the bounce you’ve won – that takes a bit of doing.

“Yes it was pretty tough, each year I’m the marked man.

“To pull it off for the second time was great but to take the third it was just awesome, I think if I never win it again I can still be satisfied with my national campaign.”

Was Sky ever an option?

“Yes it was actually, I was talking with them pretty recently, but time was of the essence and things didn’t work out in time.”

Have you discussed a programme, yet – there will probably be a large Asian element?

“If it goes to plan, I’ll start in Qatar, Oman, Langkawi and classics – after that I’m not quite sure.”

Where do you plan to base yourself?

“Here there and everywhere.”

Matt Brammeier
Matt’s new team have his jersey ready and waiting for him.

Do you know many of your new team mates – when’s the first get together?

“I know of most of the American/Euro guys on the team, especially Craig Lewis from HTC.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the guys and getting to know them all at our first camp in California in January.”

Is the team still on Fuji bikes for next year? – they’re nice tools.

“Yes, Fuji is our bike sponsor; I’m looking forward to getting going on it.”

You’ll be looking for more freedom with this team?

“For sure, that’s the main reason I joined the team; I really need some focus on my own performance.

“I don’t think it’s healthy to not have your own goals for such a long time.

“So to be able to have some plans of my own is awesome.”

2013 will be a good year, if…

“I win some races, and help the team to be a recognised and respected professional team in the future.”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Shay O’Hanlon – Irish Rás Multi-Record Holder

Ireland’s ‘Rás,’ a cult bike race; Marcin Bialoblocki, Tony Martin, Stephen Roche and Scotland’s own Jamie McGahan number among the GC winners. So who’s...

Aidan Duff – Part Two; Moving from Riding to Selling to Manufacturing with Fifty One Bikes

In Part One of our interview with Irish rider Aidan Duff we heard about his six years based in Nantes, three of them riding for Jean Rene Bernadeau's top flight Vendee U squad, his experiences riding with Thomas Voeckler in the team, and his wins in the Herald Sun Tour and Tour of Brittany.  We continue our chat by asking Aidan why he stopped racing and how he moved into the business side of the game, as well as the unusual methods involved in producing his custom-sized carbon fibre frames and bike builds...

Eddie Dunbar joins Team Sky

Team Sky are delighted to announce the immediate signing of Eddie Dunbar. Dunbar, who is set to make his Team Sky debut on Saturday at Coppa Agostoni, has agreed a deal to the end of the 2019 season. The Irishman, 22, was contracted to Aqua Blue Sport for the 2018 season, but – following the closure of the team – Aqua Blue and the UCI have granted Dunbar permission to leave his contract early and sign for Team Sky.

Ryan Mullen – Silver Medallist in the World U23 Time Trial Championship

Ryan Mullen’s (Ireland & AN Post) progress through the sport has been little short of meteoric. Mullen won a superb silver medal in the Worlds U23 TT in last year's Championships in Ponferrada with only a heartbreaking 0.48 seconds behind Aussie winner, Campbell Flakemore – who’s now with BMC. We caught up with the Irish flyer early in the New Year as he returned from stocking up at the supermarket in Mallorca where he’s training with the Irish track squad.

Frank Quinn – Manager to Roche and Kelly Talks Wheeling and Dealing

The Irish duo of Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche won virtually every major race on the calendar: The Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana, Tour of Romandie, Tour de Suisse, Paris-Nice – Kelly an impossible seven consecutive times - Pais Vasco, Catalunya, Criterium International, World Road Race Championship, Tour of Lombardy, Milan-Sanremo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Roubaix... Apart from the nation of their birth and talent, the two men have another common denominator; they were both managed by Dubliner, Mr. Frank Quinn.

Shay Elliott – Irish Legend and ‘All Time Great’; a Story of Firsts and Mystery

Dublin's Shay Elliott was a man of firsts: the first (and only) English speaker to win Het Volk in 1959; the first English speaker to win a stage in the Vuelta and to wear the amarillo jersey of race leadership in 1962; the first English speaker to win a Giro stage in 1960, and the first English speaker to hold the yellow jersey of race leadership in the Le Tour in 1963, but his pro career ended ignominiously and his premature death at just 36 years of age is still the subject of speculation in Irish cycling circles....

At Random

Daryl Impey – the First African Maillot Jaune

Chris Froome will go down in the record books as Great Britain’s second Tour de France winner. But whilst the slim man who now lives in Monaco may have GB next to his name in the record book – he’s originally from Kenya by way of South Africa and his win is a huge shot in the arm for cycle sport in the Dark Continent. But Froome was beaten to the punch as the first African in yellow by a man whose passport still declares ‘Republic of South Africa.’

Joe Nally – the British Senior Points Race Champion – at just 17 years-of-age

Following in the footsteps of Scottish track stars Mark Stewart and Katie Archibald, we believe Scotland’s Joe Nally to be the youngest ever winner of the British Senior Points Race Championship at just 17 years-of-age. The race was held at the Manchester Velodrome but Nally is another product of Glasgow’s beautiful indoor track; taking bronze in the team pursuit to go with his points gold. ‘Best have a word with the man,’ we thought ourselves here at VeloVeritas.

Scottish Vets’ Road Race Championship 2007

When it became apparent that the Scottish Vets' Road Race Championship 2007 - over 65 wet and hilly miles at Alford - would end in a sprint finish, most bets were on fast-finisher Graham McGarrity (Edge RT); John Kermode (Dundee Thistle) had other ideas however and McGarrity had to settle for second. Kermode was, understandably; 'delighted', whilst McGarrity: 'hates to lose a sprint, especially in vets' race!'

Tour de San Luis – Stage One

Well, I've never seen anything like that before... I'm at the Tour de San Luis and it's amazing. Not the Tour of Britain, not even the “Granda­ssima” (Volta a Portugal). Maybe only the opening of the Tour of Spain in Seville a couple of years ago was up to the scale of this “small” event here in the middle of Argentina.

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne Bikes

It was Sean Connery's character in the film "The Untouchables" who suggested you don't bring a knife to a gun fight and it was clear that the weapons of choice at the opening classics weekend in Belgium would contribute to the outcome and individual's performance. Having wandered around the teams at both the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne it became clear there was a lot of nice kit being readied to race.

Giro d’Italia – Day 7: Stage 18, Mendrisio – Varese

Today we were in Mendrisio but we belled Viktor from Verbania last night... We were feeling quite mellow; words and pics sent, a nice plate of pasta, a glass of beer and a stroll by Maggiore in the warm air. "The only reason I watch the race is because there's nothing else on TV, those photos you take are holiday snaps, Sella looks like a schoolboy, 'certain of the GB rider's' aren't proper pros, the scenery is terrible... "