Just last year Athens, Georgia resident John Murphy was racing domestically on one of the strongest squads that the U.S. has to offer. Known as a sprinter here in the U.S. many people don’t realize that he cut his teeth racing in Europe as a member of the U-23 national team. It was no surprise that Murphy made the transition to the big leagues racing for BMC. Carolina Cycling News caught up with BMC’s Murphy in his first visit home since the start of the season.
Murphy’s racing campaign started at the Tour of Qatar in February with some solid results in the sprints. From the Middle East his next stop was Europe and the Spring Classics – most notably Paris-Roubaix. In the Hell of the North his job was to shepherd race favorite George Hincapie during the cobblestone sections. Unfortunately it was not Big George’s day and he came across the line in 29th. This was Murphy’s first ProTour Paris-Roubaix and the reining American criterium champion got a taste of what his cycling career holds.
“It was a long Spring. Because of injuries I had to fill the spots (at the Giro d’Italia). I think for my first real European campaign it went really well,” said Murphy. “I learned a lot and saw what I was lacking – like the distance of the big races.”
Murphy was added to the Giro squad because the team was struck with injuries as well as the investigation into Alessandro Ballan, whose name was cited in a doping investigation – one that he was ultimately cleared of. However, Ballan was not cleared in time to contest Italy’s most important stage race.
“I knew I was on the long list for the Giro. When the team was short of riders they came to me. It was a little late for my training, and I was already kind of tired. Overall I think it went well. I just tried to help out Cadel (Evans).”
The Giro experience is one that Murphy won’t soon forget.
“It was pretty amazing. But I would have liked for it to have been a little different coming into the race with really good form and prepared for it. I wasn’t out of form, but I could feel the effects of a long Spring. Starting a Grand Tour after my first long Spring campaign in Europe was difficult.”
And like a student graduating to the next grade Murphy walks away from this first half of the season with some more knowledge.
“I learned a lot. In terms of racing I learned it takes a lot of focus, form, determination, and motivation to race with the best in the world. It’s where I want to be so I need to step it up and make sure I’m competitive.”
It won’t be too long before Murphy packs his bags once again and heads off to Europe to his next races: Tour of Wallonie and the Tour of Poland.
Check out John Murphy’s blend of coffee here.