Golden op­por­tu­nity

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY SARAH SCULLY

Tal­ented Ararat cy­clist Alice Culling will rep­re­sent Aus­tralia for a sec­ond time fol­low­ing an­other suc­cess­ful na­tional cam­paign.

Culling is among 12 Aus­tralian cy­clists cho­sen to don the green and gold to con­test the 2018 UCI Ju­nior Track World Cham­pi­onships in Switzer­land in Au­gust.

The under-19 squad was fi­nalised fol­low­ing the 2018 Cy­cling Aus­tralia Track Na­tional Cham­pi­onships in Bris­bane last month.

Culling ex­celled in Bris­bane, win­ning gold in teams pur­suit and sil­ver in the madi­son and in­di­vid­ual pur­suit.

The 2017 Vic­to­rian Track Cy­clist of the Year is one of two cy­clists re­turn­ing for a sec­ond tilt at the ju­nior track world cham­pi­onships.

Both Culling and Queens­lan­der Alexan­dra Martin-wal­lace com­peted in Italy in 2017.

Culling said she was thrilled to make the na­tional team a sec­ond time.

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing,” she said. “I’m not sure what events I’ll be in, be­cause it’s still a fair way away, but I have the po­ten­tial to com­pete in sev­eral events.

“I’m cur­rently num­ber five in the world for the points race and there are other races I am up there in. We’ll just have to see how it goes. It’s early days at the mo­ment.”

Culling is an Ararat and Dis­trict Cy­cling Club mem­ber and trav­els to Mel­bourne two to three times a week for train­ing.

Olympian and for­mer Ararat res­i­dent Shane Kelly is her coach.

Culling said train­ing in­volved a sig­nif­i­cant amount of travel and com­mit­ment, but it al­lowed her ac­cess to great coaches.

“I have one rest day a week, but I love what I do,” she said.

“I’ve been rid­ing for about 11 years. I did swim­ming and ev­ery­thing when I was younger, but cy­cling was my sport. I love it.

“I’m on a Vic­to­rian In­sti­tute of Sport schol­ar­ship and I’m com­plet­ing year 12 over two years, which helps me to fit ev­ery­thing in. My plan is to do three sub­jects this year and do them well, and the rest next year.”

Culling said she had high hopes for the fu­ture.

“Next year I step up into elite rac­ing, which is a big step up,” she said.

“My aim is to do well at this year’s world cham­pi­onships and then af­ter that, to make a high-per­for­mance team in Ade­laide.”

Qual­i­fy­ing for the 2022 Com­mon­wealth Games in Beijing is also in Culling’s sights.

She said if her track am­bi­tions did not pan out she would con­sider road rac­ing over­seas, like fel­low Ararat cy­clist Lu­cas Hamil­ton.

“For now, I’m fo­cused on prepar­ing for the cham­pi­onships in Au­gust,” Culling said.

“I’d like to thank the whole com­mu­nity for their sup­port.”

Culling will com­pete in the Bendigo In­ter­na­tional Madi­son at the week­end.

The 2018 UCI Ju­nior Track World Cham­pi­onships are in Ag­ile, Switzer­land, from Au­gust 15 to 19.

NA­TIONAL PRIDE: Ararat cy­clist Alice Culling, fit­tingly pic­tured wav­ing an Aus­tralian flag at Mar­ian Col­lege swim­ming sports last month, will rep­re­sent Aus­tralia at the 2018 UCI Ju­nior Track World Cham­pi­onships in Switzer­land.

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