Track cycling star Kaarle McCulloch can count on one hand the races she has left until she hits the track at the Tokyo Olympic Games. And it will be worth the wait she insists with the Australians poised to hit back hard in 2020 after a frustrating Games in Rio that saw them finish 13th on the cycling medal total with 1 silver medal and 1 bronze. Fans from all over the world who want to watch the live-action can buy Olympic Track Cycling Tickets online.

It was an exhausted McCulloch that was in action at the national titles in Brisbane over the weekend, where she was upset in the sprint final by Victorian Caitlin Ward. That was a fairytale upshot on its own with Ward the first woman not named Anna or Kerrie Meares, Steph Morton or McCulloch to win it in the past 20 years.

But McCulloch has learned not to sweat the small setbacks. She lost in the semi-finals last year before going on to win gold at the Commonwealth Games and returned to this year’s titles fresh off a brilliant UCI Track World Championships in Poland, where she merged with Morton for victory in the team sprint.

They will be among the favorites for gold in Tokyo, while the pair is also aiming at individual success. With the Games now rushing towards competitors at top speed, she knows every race from this point must count.

McCulloch said: “I realized I have five races until the Tokyo Olympics. I’m pretty buggered (at nationals) because I haven’t done a lot of training. I wanted to come here with some clear objectives, tactically. There are only five more opportunities under a bit of pressure with people expecting you to win. And you get to see whether you can execute under that pressure. The Olympics is the highest pressure you can go to … the whole world is watching you. I’ve been to two now, one as a reserve and one racing, so to come to nationals very underdone, it feels very similar.”

McCulloch said she received some criticism at the same event last year before surging to victory in the Commonwealth Games. She continues to trust in the process and refuses to shift her gaze from the big picture, which is the top of a podium in Tokyo.

she said: “I always go out to win. But as I’ve gotten a bit older and more mature, I’ve realized that crossing the line first isn’t always everything. Sometimes crossing the line second but executing something you need to or have been working on, that’s very rewarding. At last year’s nationals, I copped a bit in the commentary because I did lose a couple of races. I was trying to execute something I wanted to do at the Commonwealth Games … I did that and I won. That’s the most important thing.”

“When you are successful, there is always the expectation you are going to win. You become a little bit more bulletproof but it doesn’t get any easier. I still get to the track and the nerves and there and the anxiety is there. You get better at management.”

Morton missed the nationals after having minor surgery on her knee but it will be unlikely to hinder her progress towards the biggest goal of them all in 2020. Along with McCulloch, she set the scene in Poland in a hugely successful world title that also included victory in the men’s and women’s team pursuit.

McCulloch said: “With Steph, we want to win an Olympic gold medal. We talk about that. But we both want to win individual gold medals as well. The ultimate goal would be to ride against each other in the final. I feel very strongly that we are going to win some gold medals in Tokyo. I think we are in for a crack … we always have but there is something different about this team. There is a confidence there and I do think we are going to have some Olympic champions in Tokyo.”

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