Matt Brammeier writes: the Tour, the Olympics, and the US of A
Irish champion on disappointment of being overlooked for Olympic team
by Timothy John
It's pretty hard to believe it’s August already.
On a personal note, the Tour had its ups and downs. It was pretty hard to watch my team mates getting a whole season’s bad luck dished out at once: flat tyres, mechanicals, and missed chances where the story of their Tour.
It was, however, simply fantastic to watch Brad winning in such a dominant way. He simply was head and shoulders above the rest (apart from Froome, but that’s another story...).
After my disappointing withdrawal from the Tour of Austria with the knee trouble, I got some more disappointing news. After a lengthy appeal, the Irish Olympic Committee decided not to change the selection made by Irish Cycling a few weeks previous. I would not be going to the Olympic games, in London, just a stone’s throw away from where I was born. It was pretty gutting news to say the least. I really believed I deserved one of those spots on the team but the selectors saw it differently. We could talk all day about the matter but what it boiled down to was a flawed selection procedure. A mathematical equation made by guys who clearly had no idea about the current state of affairs in our sport and the Olympic Road Race Route in general.
The Olympic Road Race turned out to be both the most beautiful and most exciting races I have ever watched, but on the other side of the coin it was also the hardest race I have ever watched. I would have given my right arm to be on that start line and would have given everything to show the colours of my country. It was a little disappointing to see the three guys not feature in the race whatsoever. The tactics of the Brits was always going to see a big peloton hitting the finish line together. The big question was, would there be a group ahead of that 'Cavendish Group' ? That was our only chance and it was not taken or even attempted. I mean I could be wrong and I could be another one of those annoying armchair viewers but that’s my 50 cents worth. It pissed me off and I'm not going to hide that. I just cross my fingers and hope that next time around I manage to jump through the hoops the federation throw at me and make it to the start in 2016 with the aim of doing more than finishing.
In between being a couch potato and critic, I was also riding my bike a fair bit just incase you were wondering! After kind of fixing the injury to my knee I was back on the bike and training pretty hard. I was planning some kind of a training camp but another change in my program lead to a change of plans. I stayed put in Belgium, made some trips to my favourite training spot in Eifel, Germany and rode some criteriums and kermesse races in Belgium too stay in the racing rhythm.
So I mentioned above, my program changed yet again and I'm now halfway across the big pond on the way to the Tours Of Utah and Colorado, writing this blog is actually keeping me awake! So what’s to come is likely to be a fair amount of suffering I guess. Both are set on fairly challenging courses with a fair amount of vertical kilometres in the race manual. This is not the only hurdle as both races are held at a pretty high altitude which means that all of that pain and suffering will be done with a lot less oxygen! I'm expecting some hurting and stem chewing but hoping I pull through those first few days ok and come out with a good result for myself and my team.
The good old US of A always throws a few stories at us so I’m sure I will be in touch in the coming days with how things are going.