Kelly Murphy lowers her Ireland record in taking sixth at track world championships

Murphy takes over two seconds off mark set at the Track Cycling Nations Cup

Ireland’s Kelly Murphy finished sixth in the individual pursuit at the track world championships in Roubaix, France. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ireland’s Kelly Murphy finished sixth in the individual pursuit at the track world championships in Roubaix, France. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Having broken the national record for the individual pursuit in July, Kelly Murphy made a substantial improvement to that mark on Saturday when she finished sixth in the event at the track world championships in Roubaix, France.

She recorded a time of 3 minutes 27.49 seconds for the 3,000 metre distance, over two seconds faster than 3:29.51 seconds she recorded when winning the event at the Track Cycling Nations Cup in St Petersburg on July 10th.

Murphy has double reason to be satisfied, given that her sixth place at this world championships is far ahead of her 15th place in the same event at last year’s worlds.

“The start list was equivalent in standard to Euros [Championships] two weeks ago, which gave myself and Mia [Griffin] a good bout of confidence since we could predict beforehand where we could be in the pecking order,” Murphy said. “I guessed seventh would be a good day out for me; and l came sixth, just one second off the medal ride-offs.

“It was a career goal of mine to finish top half, and today I executed the best ride I had in me, so to be within sniffing distance of the top four is a really encouraging way to close my season.”

Griffin also rode well on Saturday, finishing two places behind Murphy in eighth . She recorded a time of 3:34.713 seconds. Griffin had previously finished third behind Murphy at the Track Cycling Nations Cup in St Petersburg in July, and last year took bronze at the 2020 under-23 European championships.

Murphy praised her team-mate. “Mia’s ride deserves a mention. She has really began to prove herself in this event. Every time she gets in the track she takes huge chunks of time off her PB and she really is just getting better and better. IP [the individual pursuit] is an event that forces you to take an honest assessment of what you are capable of. We both pushed those limits here and at Euros, and we have reaped our own rewards.”

Murphy’s setting of two national records in recent months add to similar improvements of the national record in the team pursuit. She, Griffin, Emily Kay and Alice Sharpe broke the previous mark when competing in the team pursuit at the European track championships on October 6th, and then went slightly over .07 seconds quicker again on Thursday at the world championships.

The interim head track coach Paul Manning said he was pleased with their performance. “The team rode excellently to deliver another national record in the world championships here in Roubaix, consolidating their excellent performance in the recent European championships. Managing the championship environment has been an important learning [experience], as well as being present to confirm the gap to the best in the world this year.

“The squad are motivated, committed and energised to continue striving for more and are grateful to Cycling Ireland and all its partners for the support that allows them to achieve their goals.”

Like Murphy and Griffin, Kay and Sharpe were also in action on Saturday when they competed in heat one of the women’s madison. They were trying to qualify for the final but missed out in placing 10th.

The Irish riders have now completed their participation in the track world championships. The competition concludes on Sunday.

Griffin said that the improvements to the national record in the team pursuit are encouraging for the future.

“On a review of the race, I think the main thing we can take from the worlds and on the back of the Euros is the fact that we’ve been really consistent. I think that consistency is a good place to start from. If we keep chipping away, we are going faster and faster marginally each time. I think there will be eventually be a time where we will go a lot faster. So that’s what we’re hoping and that’s what we strive to do.

The team has been missing a key member of late due to illness and Griffin said that her return will help the team to go quicker.

“I suppose we’ve not had Lara [Gillespie] for the past two competitions. What we’ve learned now is we have a good five-girl squad who can each race at that level. We need five girls to be part of this so I think that has been something that we’ve taken from these competitions.

“We’re just excited to chip away at the time that we’ve done now, and I think we will work hard over the winter to keep chipping down on that time and try bridge the gap to the bigger nations. Where we are now, I think we’re in a good place at the moment going forward for this Paris cycle because we’re fifth in the world ranking.

“In the last cycle we weren’t anywhere near that at this stage so to be where we are in a comfortable position right now is very important, I think. This winter we’re ready to work really hard.”

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