Cycling to Tokyo

Green and gold: Endurance rider Ashlee Ankudinoff and (inset) sprinter Kaarle McCulloch will be competing at their second Olympic Games. Pictures John Veage
Green and gold: Endurance rider Ashlee Ankudinoff and (inset) sprinter Kaarle McCulloch will be competing at their second Olympic Games. Pictures John Veage

Two cyclists that both grew up in the Sutherland Shire and compete for the St George Cycling Club will be on the Olympic start line when the games begin.

Part of the 14 member Australian track cyclist team Ashlee Ankudinoff and Kaarle McCulloch will be competing in their second Olympic Games.

At 32, sprinter McCulloch is a veteran of the Aussie team, having been in four Olympic training cycles and winning a Bronze medal at the London Games in the team sprint with Anna Meares.

She controversially missed out on a place in the Rio team but claimed gold in the Team Sprint and Time Trial, winning four medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games,

Kaarle, who is racing the individual sprint and keirin in Tokyo, said nothing had changed except for the event focus.

" I still have the same mindset and the same challenges still exist.

"I am proud of myself for sticking at it considering those challenges, but I am excited to see what I can do in a different event.

" I have extreme gratitude to those who have stood by my side through this journey and I can't wait to race now."

Kaarle will be joined by St George clubmate Ashlee Ankudinoff, from Menai, who is teamed up with Georgia Baker, Maeve Plouffe, and Alexandra Manly in the women's track endurance squad.

Ankudinoff started on the road, but it's at the track where she reached the pinnacle of the sport, winning four world championships and eight national titles.

She became a junior world champion in the team and individual pursuits in 2008. She then claimed bronze at the 2009 elite Track World Championships.

Ashlee won her first world title in 2010 in the team pursuit. She claimed a second-team pursuit world crown in 2015 and made her Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

At the 2019 Worlds, she had a historic double victory winning gold in the team and individual pursuits and is the only Australian female rider to win four endurance world titles.

"Our team has been working well together, and we are mentally and physically strong to compete for the gold medal," Ankudinoff said.