Kelly Murphy takes gold medal at Track Cycling Nations Cup in St Petersburg

Mia Griffin and Lara Gillespie take bronze medals in St Petersburg

Kelly Murphy in action at the Irish Track National Championships. File photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Kelly Murphy in action at the Irish Track National Championships. File photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Kelly Murphy has secured Ireland’s second gold medal of the 2021 Track Cycling Nations Cup in St Petersburg, winning the women’s pursuit race on Saturday afternoon.

Murphy set a new national record of three minutes 29.51 seconds in qualifying and then comfortably beat the Russian Alena Ivanchenko in the final. Her time of three minutes 30.422 was over two and a half seconds faster than her rival.

Fellow Irishwoman Mia Griffin dominated the bronze-medal final, beating Mariia Miliaeva of Russia by seven and a half seconds.

Both Murphy and Griffin were part of the gold medal-winning ride in the women’s team pursuit on day one of the competition on Thursday. They were joined by Lara Gillespie and Alice Sharpe in that contest.

Gillespie herself also shone on Saturday, taking a fine bronze medal in the four-event Omnium. She was fifth in the opening scratch race, finished second in the tempo race, eighth in the elimination race and fourth in the points race.

That saw her finish with 110 points, 21 behind the winner Maria Martins of Portugal, and seven points off the silver medallist Verena Eberhardt of Austria.

Meanwhile, Orla Walsh finished fifth in the women’s 500 metre time-trial, having also placed fifth in the qualifying round. Her time of 35.119 was just .016 off the new national record she had set in the qualifiers.

Four Irish competitors will be in action on Sunday, the final day of racing. Griffin and Gillespie will join up in the women’s Madison, JB Murphy will ride the men’s Omnium events, while Walsh will compete in the women’s keirin.

The Nations Cup contest counts towards qualification for this year’s track cycling world championships. The strong performances in Russia are an encouraging sign for Irish track cycling, which remains at a significant handicap compared to other nations due to a lack of an indoor velodrome.

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