Ireland’s JB Murphy won silver in the Men’s Junior Elimination Race in the UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships in Portugal yesterday evening. The Kildare man moved to the front of the bunch on the first lap of the knock-out race, where he sat for the remainder of the race. Murphy finished in second place to Italian man Michele Gazzoli and Spain’s Unai Iribar took bronze.
Speaking after the race the 17-year-old described a fast race, which he took control of from the start: “When I pulled my number out of the hat I was towards the back of the bunch, so my coach David [Muntaner] said to sprint to the front, and I was there before the first bell, and sat there for the race.”
The Elimination Race sees the last rider passing the line on each lap getting eliminated, and the medals being awarded to the last three riders on the track.
“I sat at the front and rode as fast as I could – and next thing all the big nations went out. I am not even sure what happened in the race, because I sat at the front the whole time. When I looked back there were six riders left, then four and then three – myself, the Italian and the Great Britain rider. Myself and the Italian went shoulder to shoulder and GB was eliminated.”
The GB rider, William Tidball was subsequently disqualified for dangerous riding in the race, with the bronze medal being awarded to Spain’s Unai Iribar.
This was the first bunch race on an indoor velodrome for Murphy, who already represented Ireland earlier this year in the World Cyclo-cross Championships.
“My first time on an indoor track was four weeks ago, and this was my first bunch race ever in an Velodrome! I spent a lot of time in the winter riding cyclo-cross and it definitely paid off in the road season. Before coming here my legs didn’t feel great in training, but today I felt good; I had good race legs today.”
Also in action yesterday was Fintan Ryan in the Men’s U23 Scratch Race, where he finished in 8th place. Having finished 6th in the U23 Elimination Race, Ryan was disappointed with his results saying: “Today was quite poor for me, I didn’t feel good and didn’t race well.”
The Wicklow man has been in flying form this summer, competing across Europe with his team TrackProject.ie and is hopeful of a good result on Sunday when he competes with Mark Downey in the U23 Madison: “I’ve competed against most of the guys here this summer, and it is handy to know their style and ability. These Championships have been a big goal for me – I’m hoping for a medal yet.”
Racing continues today with Autumn Collins in the Women’s U23 Sprint, and Xeno Young and Luke Smith in the Men’s Junior Individual Pursuit; an event in which Young finished fourth last summer.
The UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships take place in the Sangalhos Velodrome in Anadia, Portugal from the 18 – 23 July 2017.