McCulloch falls in keirin semi-final

Australian cyclist Kaarle McCulloch has failed to make the keirin final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Australian cyclist Kaarle McCulloch has failed to make the keirin final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kaarle McCulloch has failed to make the women's keirin final, continuing Australian cycling's frustrating Tokyo Olympic campaign.

After progressing through the round-one repechage on Wednesday, McCulloch finished second in Thursday's quarter-final heat at the Izu Velodrome.

Sam Welsford is also out of medal contention with one event left in the men's omnium.

McCulloch was well-positioned inside the last three laps of the six-lap event, but was unable to capitalise and finished second-last out of the six riders.

McCulloch will also compete in the sprint on Friday, but the keirin was her priority at Tokyo.

It was a tough build-up to the Games for McCulloch, who won bronze in the team sprint with Anna Meares at the London Olympics.

First her current team sprinter partner Steph Morton retired in the COVID-19 delay after they won silver at last year's world championships and then she suffered a back injury.

McCulloch then had a selection battle to make the Tokyo team, with the 33-year-old's position in doubt as late as three months ago.

A day after his bronze in the team pursuit, Welsford made a promising start in the four-event omnium when he was sixth in the 10km scratch race.

Welsford then scored an early point in the 10km tempo race, but missed the key move and finished 13th, putting him ninth overall and 30 points off the pace.

He rode a smart race in the elimination, sitting near the field but keeping away from the vulnerable position at the bottom of the track, before he was the ninth-last rider to be forced out.

That left Welsford ninth overall and well off the pace.

The revamped men's omnium was taylor-made for Australian Cameron Meyer, given all four events are now mass-start races.

But the nine-time world champion, a master of track craft, withdrew from the team because his father is gravely ill.

Australian Associated Press