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Conor Murphy suffered several incidents at Telenet Superprestige Heusden-Zolder but, like Cameron Henry, he battled on (Photo with thanks for Gareth Gibbons)

Conor Murphy (Caldwell Cycles) and Cameron Henry (Inspired Cycling) suffered multiple set-backs during their Telenet Superprestige debut in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, today but the Irish teenagers showed great character in fighting on.

They were among seven Irish riders in action today, including senior men’s and women’s Irish champions Dean Harvey (Trinity Racing) and Maria Larkin (Donkey Label).

Also in action was up and coming junior, Aine Doherty (VC Glendale), U23 international Travis Harkness (Scott Bright Motor Group) and former national elite champion, Darnell Moore (Caldwell Cycles).

Murphy, a stand-out performer already this season who will ride an international road calendar next year, was gridded at the back of the field in the junior men’s race, as was his fellow international rider Henry. And that meant both were really up against it from the start.

With no junior race for her to ride today, young Aine Doherty got in against the best elites in the world at Telenet Superprestige Heusden-Zolder (Photo: Gareth Gibbons)

The size of their challenge was increased when they got caught behind a pile-up immediately after the start. That bad luck did not deter them, as both continued to plug away, trying to pick off riders ahead of them.

As they did so, Murphy suffered a repeated problem with his chain, which jammed four times. Those incidents, coupled with trying to find their legs after their journey over to Belgium, meant Murphy and Henry did well to finish on the same lap as race winner, Senna Remijn (Netherlands).

In the 89-rider field, Murphy finished in 71st position, at 5:53, while Henry was 83rd at 7:32; both gaining invaluable experience on a racing trip organised and financially assisted by Cycling Ulster.

In the men’s senior race, Harvey was in action a day after taking on the UCI World Cup race in Gavere, where he placed 52nd in an event won by world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck).

Today’s men’s race in Heusden-Zolder – a UCI C1-ranked event – saw Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) claim victory, with Harvey 49th, at 7:16, in an 85-rider field. Harkness and Moore were 66th and 70th.

In the absence of a junior race today, Doherty rode the elite women’s event. It was won by world champion, Fem van Empel (Jumbo Visma); her 12th major victory of the season, including winning gold at the Europeans.

Larkin placed 76th today, with Doherty just a few places behind her in 80th place. The Irish riders will compete in Diegem tomorrow, before rounding off their trip in Loenhout on Friday.

#Juniors #Murphy #Henry #battle #incidenthit #Superprestige

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