An Interview with Stephen Murphy


When did you decide to go full-time on the bike?

Well I’m a new comer to the sport of cycling starting in 2013 but this year when I seen all the lads I know on itap go from A3 to A1 in one year I really sat up and took notice and started to believe I could do the same.

What have you put on hold and what sacrifices have you made to ride full-time?

I have put on a hold a degree in biopharmectiucal science in galway. The big sacrifice is seeing all your friends go out while you stay in but thats easy as racing the bike at such a high level is a much better buzz than a night out.

How has your family helped?

My family have been amazing from my mam to teaching me how to cook and along side my dad being at every race running up and down the country with me and no way could I have taken on this challenge without there help and the help of my sisters.

And what about your new Team iTap, what makes iTap different from your domestic club?

The big thing I notice is the feeling you get when you put on the itap jersey your not there to take part your there to win. Also the lads give there all for every one like if one rider is in with a shout all the other lads would work as hard as they can to make it happen and the support from the Athletic Clinic, O’Nells Cycles, Kalas Ireland and the Bike Clinic is unreal. Jonathan Gibson keeps the whole thing going for us its the real deal

Give us an idea of what your week is like as a full-time bike rider?

Monday is an hour recovery ride and then tuesday is two hours and wedesday thursday would be three, four or five hours with a recovery spin friday and then the long spins at the weekend and then theres all the core which has to be done along with recovery eating the right foods, foam rolling, stretching and all. Its a full-time job.

What are you ambitions for 2016?

Firstly I want to be winning and finishing in the results week in week out in the best races in Ireland and abroad swell as riding the Ras.  I want to do well and be up there, as its a race I have great love for.

Stephen winning Leinster A3 Championships 2015

Stephen winning Leinster A3 Championships 2015

What are the hardest things to manage in life now as opposed last year?

The diet, getting the right food in and not eating junk food. a planned diet was something I never had before so its been tough to get into a routine of eating well but I’m enjoying it.

                                        Where do you see yourself in 2017?

Winning stages of races like the Ras and being on a pro team and racing abroad week in week out would be the goal and being with itap I know thats achievable

What your favourite music for the turbo?

Avicci or something with a beat to get you through the torture that is a turbo session

Whats your favourite food & drink on the bike?

Mi-wadi and bananas can’t bate it.

Whats your pet hate in cycling?

The dodgey tan-lines and the fact cyclists have the arms of 12 year old girls not very attractive.

Whats your favourite thing about cycling?

Racing i only train becuase i love to race nothing like dishing out some pain in a race

Whats your favourite race?

Paris roubaix, proper hard mans race. Every year I’ve watched it I’ve not been disapointed

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Team Kit by Kalas Ireland

What professional rider do you wish to emulate?

Philip Gilbert the mans a legend…. well Philip Gilbert in 2011.

What is your favourite type of training session?

Hill repeats nothing like a long day in the hills

What is your fastest time to fix a puncture?

5 minutes on a good day

How long can you hold a wheelie for?

0 seconds on a road bike and 2 seconds on a mountain bike.

What your favourite Movie?

Step Brothers a timeless classic

Who’s your dream Girl?

I wont repeat a soft answer like Darragh Bailey left….😀 anyways someone like jennifer lawrence or of that description would do nicely.

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Equipment Sponsors O’Neill’s Cycles of Tuam

Who’s your training partner?

Ah myself and David Brody my team mate have come quite a dream team recently

Have you ever put wintergreen on your shammy by mistake?

Yes at the bogman 2 day last year I thought I sat on glass, I was in the shower scrubbing 20 minutes before the start not the best warm up I must say.

Can you trust your new team mates not to switch the wintergreen and shammy cream tubs?

Ah its a tough one Feeley’s a devil for giving out pain so I’d be very careful if I seen him with my shorts.

And a parting word?

You can either be sore tomorrow or sorry tomorrow so train hard and leave everything on the road.

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Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery.

Source: Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery.

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Tour de France Live Rider Data Tracking

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Tour de France Live Data Here

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Dealing with Overtraining (OTS)

Considerations for coaches and physicians

OTS: Overtraining syndrome, OR: Overreaching

Until a definitive diagnostic tool for the OTS is present, coaches and physicians need to rely on performance decrements as verification that an OTS exists. However, if sophisticated laboratory techniques are not available, the following considerations may be useful:

  • Maintain accurate records of performance during training and competition. Be willing to adjust daily training intensity/volume or allow a day of complete rest, when performance declines, or the athlete complains of excessive fatigue.
  • Avoid excessive monotony of training.
  • Always individualize the intensity of training.
  • Encourage and regularly reinforce optimal nutrition, hydration status, and sleep.
  • Be aware that multiple stressors such as sleep loss or sleep disturbance (e.g., jet lag), exposure to environmental stressors, occupational pressures, change of residence, and interpersonal or family difficulties may add to the stress of physical training.
  • Treat OTS with rest. Reduced training may be sufficient for recovery in some cases of OR.
  • Resumption of training should be individualized on the basis of the signs and symptoms because there is no definitive indicator of recovery.
  • Communication with the athletes (maybe through an online training diary) about their physical, mental, and emotional concerns is important.
  • Include regular psychological questionnaires to evaluate the emotional and psychological state of the athlete.
  • Maintain confidentiality regarding each athlete’s condition (physical, clinical and mental).
  • Importance of regular health checks performed by a multidisciplinary team (physician, nutritionist, psychologist, etc.).
  • Allow the athlete time to recover after illness/injury.
  • Note the occurrence of URTI and other infectious episodes; the athlete should be encouraged to suspend training or reduce the training intensity when experiencing an infection.
  • Always rule out an organic disease in cases of performance decrement.
  • Unresolved viral infections are not routinely assessed in elite athletes, but it may be worth investigating this in individuals experiencing fatigue and underperformance in training and competition. Moreover, when OTS is suspected, it is also of utmost importance to standardize the criteria used for diagnosis and/or, at least, as tools for the diagnosis of OTS are lacking, to standardize the criteria of exclusion of OTS
Daire Feeley with Team iTap winning the Ras Maigheo 2015 General Classification

Daire Feeley with Team iTap winning the Ras Maigheo 2015 General Classification

A primary indicator of OR or OTS is a decrease in sport-specific performance, and it is very important to emphasize the need to distinguish OTS from OR and other potential causes of temporary underperformance such as anemia, acute infection, muscle damage, and insufficient carbohydrate intake.

2nd year Junior Joshua Francis representing South Africa. Joshua is an Junior apprentice at iTap and will ride with the U23 Team in 2016.

2nd year Junior Joshua Francis representing South Africa. Joshua is an Junior apprentice at iTap and will ride with the U23 Team in 2016.

The physical demands of intensified training are not the only elements in the development of OTS. It seems that a complex set of psychological factors are important in the development of OTS, including excessive expectations from a coach or family members, competitive stress, personality structure, social environment, relationships with family and friends, monotony in training, personal or emotional problems, and school- or work- related demands. Although no single marker can be taken as an indicator of impending OTS, the regular monitoring of a combination of performance, physiological, biochemical, immunological, and psychological variables would seem to be the best strategy to identify athletes who are failing to cope with the stress of training. We therefore propose a “check list” that might help the physicians to decide on the diagnosis of OTS and to exclude other possible causes of underperformance.

Team iTap who were are Coaching & Athlete Services Partner to for 2015-17.

Team iTap who we are Coaching & Athlete Services Partner to for 2015-17.

The fundamentals and suggestions above form part of The Athlete Clinics basic tool kit in developing the athlete. We have coached and developed athletes to World and European medals and standards in various sports. Our coaching programs are tailored to the individual athlete wether one is a full-time athlete or just getting back into sport or fitness. We offer free consultations at our clinic in Galway or by appointment throughout the country. We can be contacted through our contact page above. Remember your an individual why not get treated like one.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 13.52.52The iTap programs for Junior Apprentice or U23 riders are alway open to applications and should you be interested in a confidential discussion please contact Team iTap through the form below or through there social media on Facebook or twitter @iTap2015.

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Kalas Sportswear Partnering with iTap

The Athlete Clinic:

Great news for the project we Partner. Irish Talented Athlete Program is Partnering with Kalas Sportswear for the 2015 season and beyond.

Originally posted on Irish Talented Athlete Program (iTap):

Press Release

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 13.50.16iTap is proud to announce its partnership with Kalas Sportswear for 2015 and beyond. Kalas will be main clothing supplier for both race and civilian custom clothing to the Team. Kalas are launching its brand in Ireland through its investment in the development of young Irish riders and the Irish Talented Athlete Program. Kalas have launched to the Irish market through Custom Club Kits with its main business premises located in Naas Co Kildare (See for directions). Custom Club Kits (CCK) is a business established by 3 brothers who share a passion for sport. They are your clubs one stop shop for all your clubs needs. As well as supplying top quality Kalas sportswear, CCK provides you and all your clubs needs in Race Event Hire Equipment and Apparel. Equipment and Products such as Start/Finish Gantries, Digital Timing Clocks, Registration Tents, Event printed T-Shirts & Hoodies…

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Top 10 Tips for the Cyclist or Endurance Athlete

Originally posted on The Athlete Clinic:

1. Under & Over Hydration

Both under & over hydration will lead to hyponatremiathrough different processes. Research has suggested 500-750 mil/hr will deal with most athletes needs under general conditions. Remember that both to little and to much liquid will cause you to under perform. If you need to consume over 850mil/hr it is recommended that you pay particular attention to additional electrolyte in your liquid in order to prevent dilutional hyponatremia. Remember some days you may only need to consume 500-700 mil/hr and other days 600-800 mil/hr so use your training to evaluate your own personal requirements as an athlete. the values here are relevant to a 75kg male athlete.

2. Not Eating Protein During & After Exercise.

In order to prevent your body from lean muscle tissue catabolism it is important that you consume some protein on riders longer that 2 hours. In some riders it might be as low…

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An Interview with Jordan McGinley

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When did you decide to go full-time on the bike?
I decided to go full time on the bike back in August. I had pneumonia for a few months before so  my plan was to give up cycling and get a job. My mum said to me that she would pay for a coach if I wanted to stay at it so I decided to it a go. I went out on the bike when I recovered and I felt like I was missing something in my life so I just go stuck in. I had seen Irish Talented Athlete Program was overhang scholarships for riders to have a go at becoming full-time professionals so I applied. That was while I was ill and by the time time i got back riding I had forgotten about applying. So then Jonathan Gibson contacted me and asked me would I come to Galway for an interview for the program at iTap, I did and now I’m full-time.  Its unreal is all I do now is train & eat
What have you put on hold and what sacrifices have you made to ride
What I have put on hold it my life, a lot. So I’m not working or anything. I train hard when everyone else is out smoking, drinking or whatever their into. But me I’m on my bike training hard for the 2015 season because it’s going to be a great season for the iTap riders. Over Christmas I was with my family but on Stephens Day I had to travel to Roscommon for a training camp so that’s the difference. You have to juggle your social life but the bike comes first. But don’t get me wrong I still get out the odd weekend with my friends.

How has your family helped? 

My family, well this wouldn’t happen only for my family. If I say I need something it’s there that day. My mother owns and restaurant so I get all the top food that I need, it’s like having my own shelf. And my parents both of them always have me well looked after by given a dig out here there and everywhere to head away to training camps and get my days work done on the bike. I’m very close to my parents so that’s good to. There just the best you could ask for. I couldn’t ask for better.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.44.07And what about your new Team iTap, what makes iTap different from your
domestic club?

Riding with a club you train, race do what you want and and you don’t worry about nobody else but yourself. Every race you enter its about yourself and every body is your enemy. With iTap it’s a lot different they give you your training prescription and they speak with the team and chose the races for the calendar. They also manage everything for you from nutrition, recovery, massage, injury management, strength & conditioning. We get looked after like pro’s. Every body is in it as a team so were always going to look out for everyone but destroy our enemy’s, that’s how we roll in iTap.

Give us an idea of what your week is like as a full-time bike rider? 

Monday: Normally an hour recovery ride or take the day of. I like to take the odd day off as I like to relax and go out and meet up with a few friends.
Tuesday: A hard day doing hill work and a few hard efforts on the flat road, come home and straight into a hard hard core session.
Wednesday: About 2/3 hrs tempo leg speed. And it’s and all out session when you come home your destroyed.
Thursday: Endurance ride about 5hrs and just riding eating and drinking.
Friday: An hour recovery ride.
Saturday: A 25mile tt riding all and a few intervals.
Sunday: 5/6 hour endurance ride.
This is want i’m doing at the minute but every block is different and has been changing since last September.
What are you ambitions for 2015?
I just want to have a good year racing and see how I get with form and my ability.

What are the hardest things to manage in life now as opposed last year?

This year it’s a lot easier now that I have plenty of time on my hands and all I have to worry about is getting out on the bike and getting the food into me. That’s all.
Where do you see yourself in 2016?
I would like to see myself on a pro team. I think I’m well able with the help at the iTap and The Athlete Clinic who provide all our training and conditioning needs.

What your favourite music for the turbo?

Any type of music. When doing intervals I like a good beat that makes you want to push harder.

Whats your favourite food & drink on the bike?

Just water and a bar that my mother makes me , it’s just make the ride a lot more enjoyable.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 10.46.50Whats your pet hate in cycling?
When the sweat is running into my eyes.

Whats your favourite thing about cycling? 

Sitting in a big bunch and smelling the rubber burn from the brakes blocks.

Whats your favourite race?

Tour de France

What professional rider do you wish to emulate?

Bradley Wiggins. He has shown the everyone and anybody is able to do anything. But my favourite cyclist is Philip Deignan because he lives about 5 miles away from me and I get out with him and Lizzie when there home on their recovery rides. There pure animals.

What is your favourite type of training session?
Speed work on the turbo or on the road.

What is your fastest time to fix a puncture?

Not to long but faster than any of my team mates because they just stand and watch you fix theirs.

How long can you hold a wheelie for?

For a few seconds, without clip on pedals a lot longer.

What your favourite Movie?
Fast and Furious

Who’s your dream Girl?

A top female hot cyclist.

Who’s your training partner?

Sean McFadden
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Have you ever put wintergreen on your shammy by mistake?
Nope never. Wouldn’t be that stupid.

Can you trust your new team mates not to switch the wintergreen and shammy
cream tubs?

Noway you could never trust these lads are you joking!!!! But on the bike I’d trust them 100% because their the best team mates going.

And a parting word?

There’s no hills like Donegal
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Combined Glucose Ingestion and Mouth Rinsing Improves Sprint Cycling Performance

This study investigated whether combined ingestion and mouth rinsing with a carbohydrate solution could improve maximal sprint cycling performance. Twelve competitive male cyclists ingested 100 ml of one of the following solutions 20 min before exercise in a randomized double-blinded counterbalanced order (a) 10% glucose solution, (b) 0.05% aspartame solution, (c) 9.0% maltodextrin solution, or (d) water as a control. Fifteen min after ingestion, repeated mouth rinsing was carried out with 11 × 15 ml bolus doses of the same solution at 30-s intervals. Each participant then performed a 45-s maximal sprint effort on a cycle ergometer. Peak power output was significantly higher in response to the glucose trial (1188 ± 166 W) compared with the water (1036 ± 177 W), aspartame (1088 ± 128 W) and maltodextrin (1024 ± 202W) trials by 14.7 ± 10.6, 9.2 ± 4.6 and 16.0 ± 6.0% respectively (< .05). Mean power output during the sprint was significantly higher in the glucose trial compared with maltodextrin (< .05) and also tended to be higher than the water trial (= .075). Glucose and maltodextrin resulted in a similar increase in blood glucose, and the responses of blood lactate and pH to sprinting did not differ significantly between treatments (> .05). These findings suggest that combining the ingestion of glucose with glucose mouth rinsing improves maximal sprint performance. This ergogenic effect is unlikely to be related to changes in blood glucose, sweetness, or energy sensing mechanisms in the gastrointestinal tract.

Full Article:

Chart showing studies and results for rinsing!

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Lab ‘v’ Field Testing.

“No significant difference”

The purpose of this study was to investigate the level of agreement between laboratory-based estimates of critical power (CP) and results taken from a novel field test. Subjects were fourteen trained cyclists (age 40±7 yrs; body mass 70.2±6.5 kg; V̇O2max 3.8±0.5 L · min−1). Laboratory-based CP was estimated from 3 constant work-rate tests at 80%, 100% and 105% of maximal aerobic power (MAP). Field-based CP was estimated from 3 all-out tests performed on an outdoor velodrome over fixed durations of 3, 7 and 12 min. Using the linear work limit (Wlim) vs. time limit (Tlim) relation for the estimation of CP1 values and the inverse time (1/t) vs. power (P) models for the estimation of CP2 values, field-based CP1 and CP2 values did not significantly differ from laboratory-based values (234±24.4 W vs. 234±25.5 W (CP1); P<0.001; limits of agreement [LOA], −10.98–10.8 W and 236±29.1 W vs. 235±24.1 W (CP2); P<0.001; [LOA], −13.88–17.3 W. Mean prediction errors for laboratory and field estimates were 2.2% (CP) and 27% (W′). Data suggest that employing all-out field tests lasting 3, 7 and 12 min has potential utility in the estimation of CP.

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10 Tips to help your Preparation for 2015

1. Get the calendar out!

Have a look back at 2014 and pick out the races you completed and in particular the ones you enjoyed and though you might have won or done better in. Pick out a couple and set the first one as your minor goal for 2015. Then pick out your favourite as your major goal for 2015. Make sure the minor goal comes at least 8 week before your major goal. Now your planning for 2015. “Fail to Plan & Plan to Fail”

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2. Set out your training

A periodised training prescription is generally 30 weeks from start to goal. Have a read up on this and get to know how to build one or contact us here through our contact form for coaching and advice. Build your program, set your start dates, note your minor goal and set your sights on your major goal.

3. Get your equipment right

Winter bike, winter clothing, foam rollers, recovery drinks, racing bike, race clothing, etc. Its is important to have the correct equipment for the job in hand. There is nothing worse for motivation during December or January than having to ride a race bike in wet cold conditions while dressed in summer kit. The same goes for racing on your winter bike with big heavy winter clothing. Equipment for recovery is also very important. Get a foam roller , learn how to use it and this will help in recovery. If you’ve forgot some of these and you’ve started your 30 week periodised prescription your already behind where you should be. Clean and maintain your equipment as it will last longer!



4. Body Care

Don’t forget to get your niggles and injuries from last year treated and continue to visit your therapist on a monthly basis throughout your prescription in order to maintain balance within the mechanical structures of the body. You masseur/masseuse will also appreciate shaved legs.


5. Strength & Conditioning

Get your self tested and assessed by a strength and conditioning coach who knows your sport. It is important that you address your weakness during the winter months as this will improve your limiters during the racing season and improve overall performance.

images-16. Nutrition

Get your head out of the biscuit tin! Its time to schedule your food intake and to appropriate food to your daily needs wether it be a rest day or a full on split session day. This is one of the most important elements of your training. One can train hard all day long and every day of the week but you will not get gains in performance if the nutrition is not timed correctly and appropriate to your needs. Remember its not what you like but what you need that counts!

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 14.50.207 Recovery

The best time for sleeping is directly after food which should be eaten directly after one’s training session. If you can’t get that sleep than stay relaxed and off your feet. Nightime sleep also needs to be adequate and going to bed that 30-60 earlier will make all the difference.


8. Infection Control

Get your self a little bottle of hand sanitiser and keep it with you and use often. For instance washing your hands after the bathroom is great but you still have to get out of the bathroom and that means using the door handle which has been used by tons of people who don’t wash! So use your sanitiser when you get out of bathroom. Try keep hands away from eyes and mouth to stop transfer of infections from the hand into the body. Clean remote controls and door handles once a week at home. Use sanitiser after activities like using buttons in lifts, pass machines etc. All this will help drastically reduce the chance of infection.

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9. Medical

Get yourself down to your local sport doctor and get checked out before your start. Get your bloods checked to make sure your not deficient in anything. It is also important to get checked again in 2 -3 months into the prescription to make sure nothing has changed. One of the most common problem we see is low iron levels which can lead to fatigue and poor recovery and in extreme cases can cause exhaustion and force you to refrain from training for a number of month.

10. The Most Important!

Get out a pen and paper, “Read this again” and start off on the correct foot, I wouldn’t say right foot as you might be left handed! “Fail to Plan Plan to Fail” Good Luck for 2015 and if you need any assistance do not hesitate to give us a call.

Sports & Exercise Engineering Team.

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