Brammeier proves point in Clonmel

MATT BRAMMEIER proved a point yesterday as he crossed the line five seconds clear of nearest rival Nicolas Roche to take his third national road race title in Clonmel yesterday, making history in the process.

The national road and time-trial champion of 2011 was recently omitted from the three-man Irish team for the Olympic road race. To add salt to his wounds, he wasn't even named as a reserve when the squad was announced a fortnight ago.

"I wanted to prove a point today and I did," said Brammeier seconds after becoming the first rider to win three Irish road race championships in a row. "I think it will shut a lot of people up. I really don't know why but there's not much I can do about it except let my legs do the talking."

Brammeier, who rides for the Belgian-based Omega Pharma Quickste team, was in the thick of the action from the gun, infiltrating a 13-man breakaway that went away in the opening kilometres and then followed the moves until just four riders remained in the closing stages of the 167km race.

Alongside Brammeier going onto the penultimate lap were Roche (Ag2r), U-23 rider Philip Lavery (Node4 Giordana) and Olympic-bound track rider Martyn Irvine (RTS Racing).

Although Irvine was dropped on the climb of Colonel's Hill, he clawed his way back and attacked on the descent, going through the finish line for the bell with a 22-second advantage.

Although he held them off for half a lap, an injection of pace by Roche and Lavery on the final climb saw him dropped, as the other three attacked on the run-in to Clonmel.

Brammeier got clear with 2km to go and held on to beat Roche by five seconds with Lavery taking bronze and the national U23 title.