Murphy breaks national record en route to seventh at track world championships

Griffin crashes, finishes 13th with Sharpe in world track championship Madison race

Kelly Murphy had a strong performance at the world track championships in Paris on Saturday afternoon, beating her own national individual pursuit record by almost a second en route to seventh overall.

Murphy faced off against 20 other riders in the qualification round and covered the 3,000 metre distance in a time of three minutes 25.424 seconds. This saw her finish just 0.12 seconds off sixth place.

German rider Franziska Brausse was fastest of the 21 riders and will battle the New Zealand rider Bryony Botha this evening in the gold medal final.

Murphy’s time was 0.939 seconds faster than the 3:26.363 she recorded en route to sixth place in the European Championships in August.


“I’m quite satisfied with that, I think,” she said. “When I started out track racing 3.25 was a really competitive time and I knew I had the numbers on the road anyway to compete with that. So it was a career goal, if you like, to get that time.

“But now the game has changed and everyone is getting faster and faster. It is a solid time, a solid outing on a day that everybody wants to do a good time. So I’m satisfied, but to be competitive now I have got to start chipping away at other things.”

She said that she was happy with her placing of seventh, given the quality of the field. “I am really delighted. Because you can use the TP [team pursuit] as kind of a proxy before you get up for the IP [individual pursuit]. There were some fast girls there today, so just to be top half I thought I’d be satisfied. I don’t think I can ask for more than seventh, I think that’s a solid outing for me.”

Murphy has made impressive improvements in recent years. She set a time of three minutes 29.51 seconds when winning the Track Cycling Nations Cup in St Petersburg in July 2021. Between then and now she has improved that national record three times, including her performance in taking sixth in last year’s world championships.

She is now 4.86 seconds faster over the distance than she was 15 months ago, a superb achievement, and a rate of improvement which suggests she could go even quicker.

Earlier, Orla Walsh lined out in the 500-metre time trial. The sprinter recorded a time of 34.765 seconds, placing 21st.


The world track championship campaign ended on Saturday evening when Mia Griffin and Alice Sharpe finished 13th in the women’s Madison competition.

The race was hampered early on by an overhead lighting issue inside the velodrome, which darkened one side of the track. This likely contributed to a crash by Griffin, who hit the deck ten laps into the race. That plus an earlier fall by one of the German duo prompted organisers to neutralise the event until the lights were fixed, with the restart happening several minutes later.

Ireland was one of several teams to lose a lap early on, and conceded another lap towards the end. Up front, the Belgian and French duos were engaged in a ferocious battle, with Belgium ultimately securing the title due to a late lap gain.

“It was a pretty ferocious pace, and it wasn’t helped when the lights broke and they neutralised the race,” said Sharpe. “Everyone was still going full gas and during that time Mia got caught up in a crash, so we were just on the back foot after that — not an ideal start to the race.”

She was left with a feeling of unfinished business. “The Madison always leaves you feeling a bit like that. It’s one of those races that even if you do well in it, there’s always areas to improve in. We definitely are hungry to improve on this performance.”

Griffin’s participation in the race was complicated by a recent bout of Covid-19 and then her crash. She looked to the future, believing they can build on their showing.

“We spent a lot of the race just chasing and trying to get back in contention and up there,” she said. “It was a really brutal race but we gave it everything that we had. We have a lot to do, learn and experience to gain in this event. I think by doing a lot of smaller events and building up that we can really improve.”

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling