Matt Brammeier (MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung) soloed to an emphatic stage victory today on the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer.
After the original 8 rider break of the day was reeled in with still 35km’s left to race, a number of attacks could be expected over the closing kilometers of the Dutch tour. A few unsuccessful attempts were made initially but then when the Irishman gave the open road a bash with around 14km to go, he quickly built up a 30″ lead. With 10km to go, Brammeier had 40″ over the main bunch and still had plenty left in his tank.
The peloton’s hesitancy to start the chase played perfectly into Brammeier’s favour as he continued to power away and increase his lead with each passing kilometer. Going under the 3km to go banner, Brammeier had a full minute on the main field. Lotto-Soudal did what they could by leading the charge behind but Brammeier’s craftiness and strength had paid off as he crossed the line solo to take our African teams 9th victory of the year. Outside of his national titles, it was also Matt’s first professional victory.
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) brought the bunch across line 25″ after Brammeier, followed by his teammate Greg Henderson in 3rd. 2nd place on the stage was enough to ensure Greipel won the the Ster ZLM Toer overall.
Afterwards Brammeier said, “I had a bit of a rough few days after Tour of Luxembourg. I picked up a bit of a virus and I’m still getting over it but today I felt better. I saw the opportunity at the end of the stage when the peloton stalled a bit so I thought I’d give it a go. 99 times out of 100 it doesn’t work but today was that 1 time it did work.”
“I’m so happy to get this win now for myself and also for the team, it’s a great way to promote our 5000 bicycles campaign. Hopefully the win can also boost morale and confidence going into the next races and of course for my national championships next week.”