major Ras boost for Murphy after securing victory in Shay Elliot Memorial
Conor Murphy and Thomas Martin gave the Eurocycles/Eurobaby team a confidence boost one week before the start of the An Post Ras when the duo took a fine one-two in the Shay Elliott Memorial in Wicklow.
A stiff headwind saw numerous attacks fail in the early stages of the tough 140km race until a four-man group containing Murphy; Chris Reilly from Bohermeen and Aquablue duo Timmy Barry and Damien Shaw went clear on the approach to the main climb of the day at Glenmalure with about 40km remaining.
"I was hanging on, hoping to get to the top with the group," said Murphy. "For the first 80km or so I was stuck to the road and I didn't really come around until we got over the climb. I think the headwind for the first half of the race kept things very tight. A lot of moves went away, but they all came back and nothing seemed to be sticking until we got onto the little narrow road approaching Glenmalure."
By the time Shaw had taken the King of the Mountains classification, Reilly had punctured out of the lead quartet, Barry had lost his place at the head of affairs with a broken spoke and the duo had been replaced by Thomas Martin and Movvtin Mizgojski.
Murphy jumped across to a move by team-mate Martin on the descent and the duo's smooth rhythm to the line left them with plenty of time to celebrate at the finish.
"There was so much racing done in the first half of the race that a lot of guys' legs were starting to give in, so we put our heads down and went for it and it was a real team effort," Murphy said. "I've won stages in Ras Mumhan, Tour of Ulster, Tour of North... but this is the biggest one-day race I've won."