Jim McMurray has added another rainbow jersey and gold medal to his collection after a spectacular performance at the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Champs in Italy recently.
The Cambridge cyclist reclaimed his men’s 55 – 59 time-trial world title having won it in 2016, this year securing it by just a quarter of a second over Great Britain’s Kevin Tye – a huge step up after losing by around 28 seconds to the same competitor last year.
“To get good improvement and take out the title … just ecstatic,” McMurray said with a smile after arriving back in Cambridge from Italy, describing standing on the podium as a “very proud” moment.
“You hear the national anthem in rugby and that, but when you’re actually having to get up there, it’s pretty special.”
Finishing in 29 minutes and 48 seconds, McMurray averaged a speed of 44.3kmph over the 22.5km time trial course. Three days later, he competed in the road race against 267 cyclists, many of whom were fresh and raring to go having not taken part in the time trial or other events at the competition.
McMurray managed to break away from the pack during the 130km course, which gained 2100 vertical metres in ascent. Reaching the last climb in a top-20 bunch, the cyclists made attack after attack for the first-place spot over the last three kilometres. “You just sprint like mad to the end,” said McMurray, who finished 6th overall.
“It was a good position, but I just, yeah, just didn’t (win),” he laughed, later adding that the experience as a whole at the event was “just exciting”, enjoying the comradery with the Kiwis, the cycling festival atmosphere, and of course standing at the top of the podium for his age group.
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty now champion has three silvers and two golds to his name, from five rounds of the annual event over the last six years (missing out on the 2015 Copenhagen event).