King of the road Brammeier collects fourth crown
Defending champion Matt Brammeier became the first rider to win four National Road Race titles when he outsprinted breakaway colleagues Philip Lavery and Damien Shaw at the end of a tough 183km championship race in Carlingford.
Both Brammeier and Lavery had been out front for over half the race when a group of 16 merged at the front in the final laps and it looked like their efforts had been in vain. "It looked like it was a bit of a suicide move at first but I kind of had to do it," said record-breaker Brammeier.
"If I missed something, everyone was going to look for me to chase, so I knew I couldn't let myself get into that position where I had to chase."
Having followed all the right moves in the latter stages, Brammeier and Lavery found themselves out front again with just Mullingar fireman Damien Shaw for company for the final two laps. In the sprint to the line, Brammeier proved again that he is one of the best Irish one-day riders, diving down the right-hand side of the road to take victory by a couple of bike lengths from Lavery.
"Philip was going really strong and I was worried about him," said Brammeier. "I knew I had to make it over the last climb and stick with my plan for the sprint. We were messing about a bit with a couple of kilometres to go.
"I think the guys were a bit nervous that the group behind was going to come down on us, but I knew we had a decent gap and I was confident we were going to go to the finish."
Although he improved one place on last year's bronze medal, Lavery was disappointed. "I wanted the jersey. I wanted the gold medal," he said. "The silver... maybe in a couple of years' time I'll appreciate it more but today I'm really disappointed."
Shaw on the other hand was delighted with his bronze-medal ride, despite having to rush back to work straight after the medal presentation.
"I was just hanging on," said the Aquablue rider. "I wanted to try and keep it together. I didn't want the boys to start jumping. I know my limits."