Question Time: Matt Brammeier

Riding for one of, if not the top team in the World, HTC-Columbia, is a British/Irish rider Matt Brammeier and VeloUK spoke to him this week.

The Irish Champion made a name for himself last season and no more so than in the Road Worlds in Melbourne. He’s gone from the Sean Kelly Continential team, AN Post, who incidently are sponsored by Dolan Bikes in 2011, to a ProTour team with the world’s fastest roadman sprinter, Mark Cavendish. I remember well the days back in 2004 when these two were in the same team, the Great Britain Academy squad and as fate often does, they ended up going in separate directions more to do with the personalities of the people involved around them rather than the talent of either of the riders.

VeloUK has asked Matt some questions about his season which he says is rather busy, especially the travelling.

VeloUK: What has been the highlight of the season so far and why?
Matt Brammeier – Roubaix for sure. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done! My result wasn’t great and I had a bit of bad luck (like 99% of the peloton) but it was the whole experience of the race. I was in a good position and feeling pretty good until Arenberg where I crashed and my race was as good as over. It’s defiantly a race I want to focus on in the future.

VeloUK: Have you noticed a difference in the racing going from An Post to HTC Columbia?
Matt Brammeier – A few of the races so far have been pretty similar. Obviously I’ve raced in Belgium a fair bit over the last few years so I settled into things pretty well. I think this was one of the big factors they took me on board. I think the biggest difference is the organisation within the team. We don’t just go out there and hope for the best anymore. Every rider has his job within the race.

VeloUK: Have you managed to spend any time with your old academy sparing partner Cav and what’s it like being in the same team again?
Matt Brammeier – Yeah I’ve done a fair few race and training days with him so far! It’s nice to have someone to take the piss out of again!

VeloUK: What is your role on the team?
Matt Brammeier – I wouldn’t really say I have an exact role in the team. Each race is different. It all depends on what race we are doing and who we have on the team. The last few classics I’ve done, I’ve been looking after our leader, whether it be Cav, Bernie or Gossy. I know the races in Belgium and can usually position myself pretty well for the decisive points.

VeloUK: Tell us about a typical day of racing for you?
Matt Brammeier – We always eat as close to 3 hours before a race as possible. Just normal stuff like cereal/porridge etc. Each day is different on the team bus. It kind of depends who’s racing. Last week on the way to Roubaix we had Cav as DJ and MC with his music on full blast shouting down the mic for 30 mins. In the races, my style is normally to attack, so I’m normally one of the guys at the front at the start making sure we have a rider in the break if we need to. The last few races, I’ve had to hold back and stick with the leader. Like Roubaix, I did the first 100kms with Gossy in my wheel, just making sure he was OK, out of the wind and in a good position going into the first Pave section. After that, I just had to stay as far forward as possible and make sure I was there if anyone needed me. I had to wait a few times after crashes punctures and a snapped chain within the team. It was a pretty hectic day!

VeloUK: Where are you based and why?
Matt Brammeier – I stay most of the year on the East side of Belgium. I came out here a few years back as its just so easy to race. For an amateur rider, there is no better place to be as there is a race almost every day. Now it feels like home. I love the culture, the character of the place and its where I see my self shining most as a bike rider in the early classic season.

VeloUK: What races do you have coming up that you are looking forward to?
Matt Brammeier – I have Amstel Gold and Liege as my next two races. Naturally, these aren’t my races so there going to be pretty tough! I can’t really say I’m looking forward to these to be honest but never the less, I’ll go out there and do my job! After that, I’ve got a bit of a break and then Bayern Rundfart. I think this could be a good race for me. I have time to prepare for it properly and should be in good condition so that should be pretty cool.

VeloUK: Finally, how many bikes do you have and what are the best ‘toys’ you have got since joining HTC!
Matt Brammeier – I have a training bike and a TT bike at home, a race bike, a reserve bike and another TT bike in service course. Then I have a Roubaix bike for the cobbled classics however that shouldn’t be needed again! I’ve also got a Cyclo Cross bike and a MTB bike at home too for the winter months! So I think that’s 8! My best new toy would have to be my HTC phone of course!

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