The end of an era for sure – no big Matt Brammeier in the pro peloton for season 2019?
It seems like he’s been around forever but is actually only 33 years-old.
We couldn’t let that pass without taking a wander through his long and varied career; GB junior and u23 champion then a change of nationality thanks to Irish grandparents which brought four consecutive Irish Elite Road Titles against men like Nico Roche, Dan Martin and Philip Deignan.
And what about his days as a u23 Six Day man with none other than ‘Cav’?
Read on – but not if you like bland, politically correct interviews…
2003, you won the GB National u23 road race, was that the first time you began to think you could ‘make it’ in this sport?
“It’s hard to say, honestly back then I think I was still just having fun and enjoying riding my bike.
“I trained hard, but not because I purely wanted to get better – more so because I just loved riding my bike.”
2004, you won the u23 Dortmund Six Day with a certain Mark Cavendish, what are your memories of that?
“The Six Days were a great opportunity, we were thrown in at the deep end there and it really taught us quickly how to race our bikes.
We had a proper laugh at the Six Days even though they were stupidly hard.
“It made it better when we finally managed to win one.”
2005, a stage win in the tough old Girvan Three Day in Scotland – was that the ride which got you a start with DFL for 2006?
“I think that was one of my first senior wins, riding for the academy. It maybe gave me that chance but honestly I just knew someone who had a contact at the team.”
What was DFL like for you?
“A nightmare, when I look back on that year it was honestly the worst of my career.
“The team was a shambles and the management were crooks.
“It did however toughen me up pretty quickly and I believe played a big part in my career and made me a lot more resilient than I was before.”
2007/08 Profel, how did you get that ride?
“Again, a friend of a friend (Tim Harris) I didn’t really have any good results with DFL bar a couple of kermis results but Profel took me under their wing and I loved every minute.
“I owe a lot to those guys, they looked after me through thick and thin and never let me down.”
You had some nice results with them, winning the GB u23 TT and going well in the kermises
“Yes I had a good couple of years, even after getting run over.
[Brammeier was involved in an accident in November 2007, when he was struck by a cement lorry whilst out training. He broke both his legs but returned to cycling retaining his contract with Profel in Belgium. ed.]
“It’s obvious why, I was enjoying myself and having a laugh. Happy bike racers win bike races, sounds corny but it’s bloody true.”
2009 and AN Post – the programme looked very good.
“AN Post was a big step for me, into the pond with the big boys but also chances to race with riders my age in smaller races.
“Again it was difficult, Kurt [Bogaerts, AN Post DS, ed.] was pretty hard on us but again I learnt a lot and I’m thankful for that opportunity.”
In 2010 you were still with the Irish Post Office and you won the Irish National Champs and rode a very solid Worlds – almost eliminating the peloton, as I recall?
“Yes, I think this was definitely the year and result that defined my career, this is the hardest part of cycling; getting your foot on the ladder.
“I had a good Nationals and then some good results after that before I was offered the ride at HTC.
“The Worlds was pretty special, we came close but it wasn’t to be.
“I always joke with people that I ‘almost won the worlds’ funny because I wasn’t that far off.”
[Brammeier and his breakaway companions were so far ahead of the peloton that they almost caught the main bunch as the break neared the finish of their first lap of the race circuit just as the peloton came in off the opening ‘dog leg’ – if they had caught them then, under UCI rules the peloton should have been eliminated, ed.]
2011, HTC, the Irish road and TT title and a massive programme from Qatar to Paris-Tours.
“It was probably the best year of my career, from slumming it in Belgium earning €250 a month to a proper pro salary at the best team in the world.
“We had so much fun that year and never really took ourselves too seriously.”
2012, Omega and the best team in the world, what was that like?
“I’d disagree, HTC in my opinion was the best team of our time.
Quickstep was cool but was a little bit too ‘Belgian’ for my liking…”
And your third National title on the trot – that must have been special?
“This one was special; I had a bit of a point to prove after not being selected for the Olympic Games.
“It’s one of my biggest disappointments in my career. I should have been there and the whole country knew it.
“I just wasn’t Irish enough for a place in that race – I never forgot that.”