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Matt Brammeier describes decision to close down HTC-Highroad as "devastating"

Liverpool rider broke into top flight with US team this year after recovering from horrific accident in 2007

Liverpool-born Matt Brammeier has said that last week’s announcement that the HTC-Highroad team he rides for is to be disbanded at the end of the season came as a “devastating” blow. The 26-year-old, a friend of Mark Cavendish who was his contemporary at the British Academy, had been set to extend his contract with Bob Stapleton’s team, which he joined this season from An Post-Sean Kelly.

Now riding for Ireland, in June Brammeier successfully defended his Irish national road race title and added the time trial championship, but he now finds himself as one of a number of HTC-Highroad riders seeking a new team for 2012.

Speaking to the Liverpool Daily Post, Brammeier, who began his career as a junior ride with the city’s Liverpool Century club, said: “I slotted into the team perfectly this year and was looking forward to a few more years working with this amazing team.

“Tuesday morning everything was looking good and I had an agreement in place with HTC to stay for another two years, but as you know now this all fell through at the last moment. Pretty devastating to say the least.”

The blow of the team coming to an end will perhaps be felt more keenly by Brammeier than many of his team mates. Run over by a cement truck while out training in 2007, an accident which resulted in both his legs being broken, his career hung in the balance.

Recovering to secure a place in Sean Kelly’s team, he won the Irish national road championship last year and at the World Championships was prominently involved in a 200-kilometre breakaway as the race headed from Melbourne to Geelong.

However, the cyclist remains positive. “I’m pretty happy with my first year with HTC,” he reflected. “My main goal of the year was to win something. I feel like I have played a good role in the team and done my job to the best of my abilities.

“To win the two national jerseys was pretty special. I really didn’t think that I would win even one this year, so to come home with both shocked me quite a bit and I was obviously pretty made up.”

Currently racing in the Eneco Tour after a combative performance in the Tour of Austria that saw him slip into several breaks, Brammeier said, “I’m feeling pretty good. I had a few good blocks of training after a good rest post Tour Of Austria. Fingers crossed that I can have a good showing.”

Brammeier will feature in the Irish team for next month’s UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, and his programme ahead of that includes racing in the Tour of Britain.

“I have a couple of one-day races before and I think a couple of time-trails in the UK before the Tour of Britain, as preparation for the Worlds,” he explained.

“After that, I’ll head into the Tour of Britain in what I hope will be my best form ever. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I will be keen to show myself good in my home tour.”

Copenhagen will be the next time Brammeier takes to the start line alongside Cavendish, albeit on different teams.

“I actually don’t have any races left with Cav this year,” he said. Our programmes are totally different. The next time I line up with him, I’ll be on the other side at the World Championships.

“Every time I see him win something big it makes me sit back and realise just what he has achieved. First was Milan San Remo and now the green jersey. Those two wins were pretty amazing stuff.”

In the meantime, let’s hope that the cyclist whose career at one point looked like being cruelly cut short manages to secure a new team for 2012 and beyond.



Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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cat1commuter | 12 years ago

Recovering to secure a place in Sean Kelly’s team, he won the Irish national road championship last year and at the World Championships was prominently involved in a 200-kilometre breakaway as the race headed from Melbourne to Geelong.

I was sitting in a "UCI Special" train from Melbourne to Geelong during that breakaway. In our carriage we were worried that they would complete a lap of the finishing circuit before the bunch arrived, thus shutting down the race for almost all of the field!

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