Cramp dashes Brammeier's hopes of stage win
National road race champion Matt Brammeier got his 2014 season off to a great start with second place on the opening stage of the Tour of Langkawi.
Riding for the Synergy Baku team run by Dubliner David McQuaid, Brammeier was part of an early five- man breakaway group that gained a maximum lead of seven minutes over the peloton during the stage and managed to finish over a minute clear at the line.
But having taken both of the mountain rankings along the 101km route to claim the 11-day race's first King of the Mountains jersey, Brammeier's hopes of a stage win began to fade when he started to cramp up with 30km to go.
"I'd like to say I'm happy, but I'm not," said Brammeier afterwards. "I did everything right and rode a perfect race, but I suffered bad cramps in the last 30 kms. Since I started cycling, I've always suffered with cramps on the first day of a stage race. I was pretty confident I could win in a sprint, but I can't really ride hard for long with cramp. I tried to hide it, but the other guys marked me out a little, so it was hard to try and cover everything."
With the rest of the break sensing Brammeier was hurting, they took turns to attack the Irish champion, with Colombian Duber Quintero finally escaping to victory in the last kilometre and a half.
"When Quintero attacked with around 1.5km to go, my legs started to buckle. The other guys wouldn't help with the chase, so I was destined for second place. But it was a good start to the season and I'll try and keep the mountains jersey for a while."
Meanwhile, in Colombia, Ireland's Caroline Ryan came agonisingly close to snatching a medal in the women's scratch race at the track world championships.
Just as Ryan looked to have a medal in the bag, though, she began to fade with two laps to go and could only look on as Belgian Kelly Druyts rode away take the world title. Ryan was caught and passed by the front of the peloton to finish in 14th spot. Druyts hung on for gold with Katarzyna Pawlowski winning silver, and Evgenia Romanyuta taking bronze.
"Caroline raced her heart out tonight," said Cycling Ireland head coach Brian Nugent. "She stayed in the right place for the entire race and was active throughout, making good tactical decisions. I'm disappointed for her, but she's in good shape and will bounce back."
The Irish team continued to punch above their weight last night when 19-year-old Ryan Mullen, in his first senior track worlds, finished fourth fastest in the men's individual pursuit to qualify for the bronze medal ride off.