Just two weeks ago Kenda/5-Hour Energy’s John Murphy discussed with Cyclingnews how he was looking forward to the 2012 racing season and his desire to post victories for his new team.
“I haven’t won a race in two years and that bothers me,” Murphy said in the interview.
His first race as a member of his new squad was the Valley of the Sun stage race in Phoenix, Arizona. Stage 1 was a 14 mile flat time trial that organizers call fast with a good road surface. It was here that Murphy scored his first win of the race season with a time of 28 minutes and 58 seconds, beating second place finisher Luis Amaran (Jamis Sutter Home p/b Colavita) by 15 seconds.
“I wanted to show how I could time trial”, said Murphy. “And it’s a small display of how I have matured as a racer.”
“The form was there and the ability to race my time trial bike was there too.”
Stage 2 for the pro/category 1 field was a 16 mile loop with only 470 feet of climbing per lap for a total of 94 miles, almost assuring that the stage finish would end in a field sprint. The race’s technical guide states that the course is open to traffic and racers are to observe the road’s center line and not cross the yellow line.
During the second lap of the race a car had been allowed onto the course in front of the peloton, just as the group was rounding a corner.
“I was towards the front and someone attacked,” explained Murphy. “We were all full-gas and in single file. Before I knew it the guy in front of me barreled into the car and I hit it too. I had no time to react.”
The driver, seemingly unaware of what to do with a peloton charging toward the car and spectators screaming to pull off the road, applied the brake. Riders crashed into the back of the stopped car. One racer was pulled from the rear window of the vehicle and the trunk of the car is clearly damaged from the impact of the riders. An email to the race promoters seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Murphy guessed the peloton was on the attack at approximately 30 miles per hour when the crashed occurred.
“I locked up my wheels and hit the rear right bumper and ricocheted off of it. I flipped and landed on my back.”
The damage was a broken left hand and finger, sprained back, as well a destroyed bike.
Murphy’s next race is five weeks away – the San Dimas stage race.
“I don’t see this as a big set back. I just have to let my hand heal and it should be plenty of time.”
Murphy could hear the other crashed riders talking and thinks they were okay.
“But I don’t know the extent of their injuries. It was one of those things that should never happen at a bike race. Crashes happen all the time and everyone makes mistakes. But when you are running into a car that should never happen in an organized road race.”