27 July 16:15 (BST)

Neuroscientist MURPHY (IRL) has a head for cycling success

GLASGOW - More than three years ago, Kelly MURPHY (IRL) took up cycling for her daily 10-kilometre commute from home to university in England where she was studying for a doctorate (PhD) in neuroscience.

Now she is preparing to race for Ireland in the road time trial and on the track at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships. She also dreams of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

"I enjoy the time trial," MURPHY said. "Because I was always running late for appointments I am used to pedalling hard for a certain period of time.

"Glasgow 2018 will be my first major championships racing for Ireland, so it will be a special moment for me."

MURPHY had just handed in her doctoral thesis on improving the early diagnosis of dyslexia when she was invited to join Cycling Ireland's talent scheme.

It was too good an opportunity to turn down, even if it entailed a major lifestyle change with a move from Birmingham to Majorca to train with a group of equally promising riders.

"The timing was perfect," 28-year-old MURPHY said. "I had applied for the talent scheme the year before but it did not happen. It turned out to be a good decision as it would have been difficult combining the training blocks with working on finishing my thesis.

"The good thing about university is that I can go back in a few years without having really lost anything - and now I can focus on my cycling.

"It's a big commitment because we're not funded so it's a case of living off savings. The aim is to qualify for World Cups so we can get some funding, and then the goal is Tokyo."

Ireland's track line-up has not yet been finalised but MURPHY could compete against Scotland's European individual pursuit champion Katie ARCHIBALD (GBR) before switching focus to the time trial on 8 August, having recently won her first national title in the race against the clock.

"It is going to be a new experience and challenge," she said. "Before I got to Majorca I had done only three days on the track. Now I could be facing the likes of Katie. But it is something I am really looking forward to as the competition will be high quality."

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