Following last month’s racing in France and the Czech Republic, members of the Australian Track team headed to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Velodrome in Izu for Japan Track Cup.
The Cup featured two carnivals over three days, and for many of the team, it was their first hit out on the boards since the Commonwealth Games which netted 19 medals including ten gold
Three months on from their stunning and the stunning sub 3:50 team pursuit world record ride, Sam Welsford and Kelland O’Brien partnered across the two days in the Madison.
With their bikes delayed in transit, they were unable to find their feet early in the first race finishing with bronze. However, on the third day of competition, the pair treated the crowd to a classy display of Madison riding, controlling the race from start to the finish and doubling their nearest rivals on the points tally.
In other events, Welsford won the omnium, while fresh from their European schedule, Macey Stewart and Kristina Clonan grabbed silver and bronze in their two Madison appearances.
“Great to see them in action again even though they are just beginning to start their training again over the last few weeks,” said Senior Men's Track Endurance Coach Tim Decker.
“We will start to build slowly from here with the team towards the beginning of the World Cup season.”
The sprint team enjoyed the podium across the three days, with Kaarle McCulloch winning the keirin and sprint bronze on day one.
Pat Constable bagged keirin bronze in a strong field on day two, while Jacob Schmid collected two top-five results in the sprint.
“It was a great trip to start the season after a good break following the Comm Games,” said National Senior Track Sprint Coach Nick Flyger.
“It was good for the sprinters to check out the 2020 velodrome, and we were able to focus on the processes and applying the skills and tactics we had been working on since the Games.
“For the squad, it was nice to also catch up and train with Matt Glaetzer while he is competing in the Japan Keirins.”
The squads will be back in action on home soil at the 2019 Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide from 10-13 October.
Visit morecadence.jp for more on the Japan Track Cup.
2018 has been stellar to date for Sydney's Kaarle McCulloch with dual Commonwealth Games gold, plus silver and bronze, a thirteenth national title, and a host of new personal best times across the boards.
On the eve of her departure to July's Japan Track Cup, McCulloch chatted with us about her memorable week at the Games, hitting the mountain bike trails, partnering with Steph Morton and the fire that burns for a second Olympic Games appearance.
"I guess the thing that stands out the most that most people never realise is how nervous I was ALL day."
GOLD COAST GOLD: What a week for at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with four podiums from four events including individual & team gold!
I’ve dreamt my entire career to stand on top of the podium on my own at an event like the Commonwealth Games. I love the team sprint and it holds something very special to me, but to win the time trial and to be able to say I did that all on my own was very special.
The thing that stands out the most that most people never realise is how nervous I was ALL day. I really sincerely believe that if you’re not nervous you can’t do exceptional things and I was able to turn all those nerves into something really special.
I had already raced the event in my mind so many times before without outcome and so the ride itself was one of those ‘dream moments’ that you don’t get very often in your career. I can really only say I have had that kind of moment three or so times my career and they have mostly all come at critical times like in 2009 when Anna and I won our first World Title together.
When I crossed the line and saw 33.5, I was so happy because my goal was to ride 33.5. Also, when I saw Steph rode 33.6 I was so happy for her because that was a huge PB for her but I also knew that if I nailed it that I was capable of winning.
Some of the memorable moments of that night were when Steph came to congratulate me, I felt an honest and genuine connection with her in that moment and I think it speaks loads about our camaraderie. I was also able to go and hug my family who has known my aspirations and I really felt like they won that night.
"It has been a hard slog since getting back into it, as all offseason training is especially in the cold, but its the necessary evil of what we do, you have to hurt if you want to win."
VETERAN MOVE: When taking a post-Games break means hopping on a mountain bike!
I have learnt that it is so important to take a proper break after big events. As a team, we were allowed two weeks off at Gold Coast 2018- which included the second week in the Games Village after our racing finished and isn’t much of a break!
So when we were told to get back into some easy work two weeks after, I wasn’t quite ready and instead I let myself be inspired to get back on again. This didn’t take long though because…I bought a mountain bike! I have since been thoroughly enjoying being truly out with nature and just doing something so different.
I was able to spend time with my family and my boyfriend and I felt like my batteries were recharged when I did go back to Adelaide four weeks after the games. Since then its been a hard slog as all offseason training is, especially in the cold but its the necessary evil of what we do, you have to hurt if you want to win.
"I have been able to watch Steph grow every year and that makes me glad she is on my team and no one else’s!"
NEW PARTNERSHIP: McCulloch, a three-time team sprint world champion & 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, is firing with new partner Steph Morton.
I am really so excited for the Team Sprint! Steph and I have already been a force to be reckoned with but in all honesty, we haven’t really spent that much time working together. So now that I have moved to Adelaide I feel like we can go a step further in our partnership.
I am also just so proud of Steph. When she first came into this program in 2013, she was so raw and didn’t realise her talent. But I see her grow every year and she is starting to believe in her potential and I guess that makes me glad she is on my team and no one else’s!
But I think for myself also I just see improvement every day and I am glad I got through the rough times I went through because I feel like I am on the other side now and really pushing that last bit up to the summit of Mount Everest.
"It is a scary prospect of what it will take to win, but then you see the plan and the steps to get there you start to realise that it is very possible."
NO STONE UNTURNED: McCulloch knows what it will take to get to Tokyo 2020.
Tokyo is my big goal. The Commonwealth Games gave me the realisation that the sky is the limit. I feel such potential and energy, like when I was preparing for the London Olympics when I super focused and really balanced in all aspects of my life.
I also have a plan now through to Tokyo as set by my support team down in Adelaide, and when you can see your plan it is a scary prospect of what it will take to win, but then you see there are steps to get there, you start to realise that it is very possible.
I know what it takes to win, I know what it feels like to step out on to an Olympic Velodrome and I have been the best in the world.
So for me really it is about enjoying the next 766 days, working hard, believing in my plan and my team and building on the momentum that Steph and I have and putting that into a result on race day.
Kaarle will race the Japan Cup in July before heading back to Australia for Adelaide’s Oceania Championship in October and the 2018/19 World Cup season.
Photos © Tim Bardsley-Smith / Casey Gibson
Sydney's Kaarle McCulloch celebrated atop the podium with a brilliant Commonwealth Games gold medal in the women's time trial.
McCulloch snatched the gold just 0.036 ahead of teammate Stephanie Morton in a blistering women’s 500m time trial at the Anna Meares velodrome.
Morton looked odds-on to claim her third GC2018 gold medal before McCulloch took top spot in a personal best time of 33.583.
“Anna Meares pulled me aside and said only a Meares girl has won this title. I want a McCulloch to win,” said McCulloch, who won silver eight years ago in Delhi 2010.
“I feel like I’ve done it justice. I got into this sport because of her. To take that title tonight on her track is dream come true after winning her first individual Commonwealth gold and Australia’s fifth consecutive 500m sprint title."
Morton also smashed her PB by nearly half-a-second with her first career sub-34 second ride (33.619), but it wasn’t enough to deny McCulloch.
"I knew she was going to pull out a big time and if you're going to get rolled by anyone it's (good) that it's your own and it's really great that we got on the top step together, and it happened in Glasgow where Anna and I went one, two."
South Australia's Stephanie Morton gave Australia its 100th gold in Commonwealth Games cycling after winning the women's sprint over New Zealand’s Natasha Hansen, with Sydney's Kaarle McCulloch taking the bronze.
In the afternoon's qualifying, Morton scorched the Anna Meares Velodrome track with a Games Record and personal best 10.524secs to sit atop qualifying. McCulloch clocked her own career best time in fourth with 10.777secs.
The pair eased their way through to the semi finals which disappointingly for fans saw them pitted against each other for a place in the gold medal final. There, Morton was too good for her room mate and team mate in straight heats.
In the final, Hansen attempted mind games from behind in both sprints, thrusting and dodging to try to knock Morton off her perch. But Morton was impassable, storming home in the second sprint to defend her Commonwealth title in front of a surging crowd.
It took me by complete surprise when I beat Anna Meares in Glasgow (individual sprint at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games) - and now to be in the Anna Meares Velodrome is very special
After Glasgow, I came into the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games with expectations, and reminisced on what it means to win a gold medal - it's been very special.
It is an honour to receive the 100th gold medal for Australia in cycling. This is testament to the great Australian cycling program.
Bronze - McCulloch
Women's team sprint
Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton powered over the New Zealand pair of Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming in the women’s team sprint final to win gold.
With former teammate Anna Meares watching on, the duo powered in qualifying to take the mental advantage into the final, which saw them ride the wave of parochial Aussie support as they clocked a new Commonwealth Games and national record time of 32.488 seconds.
More: Watch live via 7commgames.com.au | Visit gc2018.com for all the event information.
Can’t complain with a casual Aussie record but we’re stoked, that’s what we came here for — to smash our own record and we got it convincingly so it’s pretty exciting with three days to go.
It’s insane, we were pretty lucky to get to see the track endurance and tandems go before so it was cool once you got up there, you knew that noise was for us.
Steph and I are not a new team but we’re not an old team either, we’ve almost won nearly every time we step on a track together, so to be able to go from Anna as a team sprint partner to Steph and make some history is awesome, and I’m looking forward to Tokyo and beyond.
We’ve both got amazing form at the moment which is a credit to our coaches and I think this crowd is pushing us over the line as well.
men's team sprint
The Australian men's quartet of Nathan Hart, Matthew Glaetzer, Patrick Constable and Jacob Schmid won bronze in the men's team sprint.
It was a heartbreaking opening for the team the afternoon qualifying, with Constable pulling his foot at the start of their heat. The team was granted a re-run minutes later, and recovered to post the third best time to send them into the bronze medal ride.
Schmid came in for Glaetzer in the final, with the team too strong for Canada as they clocked 43.645seconds for three laps to win the bronze.
Commonwealth Games Australia is pleased to announce a strong 36-member team to contest the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Reigning Commonwealth Games champions Stephanie Morton, Matthew Glaetzer and Annette Edmondson headline the track selections, in addition to the return of 2010 Gold medallists Cameron Meyer and Kaarle McCulloch.
Reigning road national champions Alexander Edmondson and Shannon Malseed, triple world championship medallist Katrin Garfoot and 2006 Commonwealth Games road race gold medallist Mathew Hayman feature in the road selections.
The team will vie for 26 gold medals - track (16), para-cycling track (4), road (4), and mountain bike (2) competitions in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast from 4-15 April.
Australian Team Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti welcomed the athletes on to the Australian Team.
“We enjoyed strong success at Glasgow 2014 from the Cycling team, so with the depth and experience we have in this team we look forward to more success at Gold Coast 2018,” he said.
“The cycling program is an incredibly exciting one for fans, with competition at the new Anna Meares Velodrome, road cycling events that are free and open to all spectators and mountain biking at the Nerang trails.
“With many of these athletes spending a lot of time abroad, Gold Coast 2018 provides a unique chance for these athletes to compete in front of a home crowd,” Moneghetti said.
With the announcement of the 36 cyclists today, the Australian Team currently numbers 222, or just under half the anticipated total of 470 athletes.
The men’s track endurance squad is replete with rainbow jerseys, with reigning team pursuit world champions Samuel Welsford, Kelland O’Brien, Leigh Howard, Alexander Porter and Nicholas Yallouris, plus individual pursuit world champion Jordan Kerby; named in their first Games’ team.
Three-time world champion Leigh Howard will also debut, with eight-time world champion and triple 2010 Games Gold medallist Cameron Meyer rounding out the strong line up.
Defending scratch race Gold medallist and dual world champion Annette Edmondson, dual 2014 Games medallist and world champion Amy Cure and 2010 representative Ashlee Ankudinoff will lead the women’s endurance squad.
Dual world champion Rebecca Wiasak, Rio Olympian Georgia Baker and rising star Alexandra Manly all receive their first Commonwealth Games’ selections.
“It’s really not that often someone gets to represent their country in a home Commonwealth Games in their career, so for me, it’s something very special that I’ll never forget,” said Cure, a dual medallist from 2014.
“(I am) super excited to have the team pursuit on the calendar at the Games. I’m really excited to see what the team can achieve; as one of our three Olympic events, it’s great to get another opportunity to race this race in front of big crowds.”
Australia’s sprint crew is awash with Commonwealth Gold with defending sprint champion Stephanie Morton to form a formidable women’s sprint duo with 2010 team sprint champion Kaarle McCulloch.
2014 keirin Gold medallist Matthew Glaetzer will spearhead an impressive men’s sprint quartet with Rio Olympians Nathan Hart and Patrick Constable, and Jacob Schmid.
A host of Australia’s WorldTour elite highlight the road selections, with reigning national champion Alexander Edmondson, 2006 Commonwealth Games road race Gold medallist Mathew Hayman, Steele Von Hoff, Mitchell Docker, Callum Scotson and Meyer, forming a versatile six-member men’s road squad.
“I have very fond memories of the 2014 Commonwealth Games from Glasgow, so I am really excited about lining up in the road race in 2018,” said Edmondson, who won Gold and Silver in the pursuit events on the track four years ago.
“Of course being a home games there’s a bit of added pressure, but we are going to have a home crowd cheering us on which is going to be huge.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of racing in the green and gold on home soil!”
Triple world championship medallist and 2014 Commonwealth Bronze medallist Katrin Garfoot will head the six-member women’s team with reigning road national champion Shannon Malseed, dual national road champion Gracie Elvin and 2010 Games Bronze medallist Chloe Hosking, who gains a third team selection.
2010 team member Tiffany Cromwell returns while Sarah Roy makes her debut.
“It's a bit of a pinch yourself moment,” said Hosking who becomes just the third Australian female cycling behind Anna Meares and Kathy Watt to be named to contest three Commonwealth Games.
“To think I represented Australia at 20 in Delhi and I'm still racing and still getting stronger and still pulling on the green and gold. I would never have dreamt this growing up.”
The Tandem Para-cycling selections are led by 2016 world champions Jessica Gallagher and Pilot Madison Janssen, while Bradley Henderson will make his debut with Pilot Thomas Clarke who won Bronze at the 2014 Games.
2014 Bronze medallists and dual Olympians Daniel McConnell and Rebecca McConnell (nee Henderson) will contest the mountain bike cross-country competition.
“I'm very excited about the upcoming Games, to have a home Commonwealth Games is going to be a great experience,” said McConnell who grabbed a top ten finish at last year’s World Championships in Cairns. “I have pretty high expectations going into the Games.
“I really like the course, I think it suits my strength pretty well. I just want to get to the start line 100% fit and ready to go, if I can do that anything is possible.”
Similarly, Rebecca McConnell is hoping the home course advantage plays into her hands when she lines up against a world-class field.
“I have been fortunate enough to race on the course at the Nationals Series in January, it's a great course, with technical climbing and descending and the strongest rider will win,” said Henderson.
“With world champions and World Cup winners in both the men's and the women's field the racing is going to be fast and exciting so we hope to see lots of spectators in April!”
Australia has enjoyed strong success at recent Games with a 24-medal haul including seven gold in Glasgow in 2014, and 21 medals (14 gold) in Delhi in 2010.
Tickets still available to 12 sports across the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games competition schedule.
Commonwealth Games Australian Cycling Team
PARA TRACK (TANDEMS)
* Commonwealth Games debutant