Kaarle McCulloch has left the door ajar for her international cycling career to continue, but only after a well-deserved break after she finished her Tokyo campaign in the final’s repechage of the women’s sprint.
McCulloch was 14th fastest in qualifying with 10.67 seconds then had to fight her way back through the repechages after losing her round of 32 match up against New Zealander Ellesse Andrews.
After winning her three-rider repechage, McCulloch then faced off against Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell and China’s Olympic champion Tianshi Zhong, who proved too strong in the final’s repechage.
“It was really close, I’m happy with how I executed out there, I have done really little prep for this and the bonus thing is I have 15 years of racing the sprint so I felt like I was at home out there,” McCulloch said.
“To go toe-to-toe with the Olympic champion was really good.
“I don’t know how I’ll remember it [Tokyo] just yet, all I know is I came here and gave it everything I had, I’m really proud of myself and we’ll see what the future holds for me.
“I’m going to have a break, it’s been a year coming, my body needs it so I’ll take some time off and finish my university degree.
“Comm Games is only a year away and Paris only three years away so who knows maybe this isn’t the end of Kaarle McCulloch just yet.”
In other racing, Annette Edmondson and Georgia Baker made history by representing Australia in the first ever women’s Madison at the Olympics.
The pair finished the 120-lap race in seventh place, behind gold medallists Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald from Great Britain.
“We went in with hopes high, we’ve trained hard for it and tried to focus on the basics, but unfortunately we didn’t quite get the result we were after,” Edmondson said.
“But it was an absolute privilege to be able to race in the first women’s Madison for Australia, we’ve been pushing for equality for a long time so to have a women’s race was huge.
“We would have loved to come home with something shiny.”
Baker said the race would serve as a good learning curve for the pair.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way tonight, it puts some fire in the belly and it will take a little while to reset, debrief and get through that and we’ll be back,” she said.
“Our plan was just to chill out for the first 20 or 30 laps, as you can see it was pretty hectic from the start so it was about following good wheels and avoiding those crashes which we did pretty well.
“We were super relaxed and up there in the top three so weren’t stressed out, then gaps opened up and we fell away from there, had a crash and just didn’t follow the right wheels at times and that’s how we ended up.
“We’ll cop it and move forward and learn a lot from it.”
Racing continues at the Izu Velodrome on Saturday with men’s sprinter Matthew Glaetzer lining up in the Keirin.