• Shane Perkins out front in the keirin during the 2015 Oceania Track Cycling Championships (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Australian track cyclists Shane Perkins and Kaarle McCulloch have their last chance to impress selectors this week ahead of Rio selection.
By
AAP

21 Jun 2016 - 7:53 AM  UPDATED 21 Jun 2016 - 9:11 AM

Australian track cycling great Shane Kelly has called on selectors to end Shane Perkins's national exile and pick him for the Rio Olympics.

Kelly said the London Olympian needs to go to Rio so Australia can be a medal contender in the team sprint event.

Perkins lost his national funding late last year and did not make the Australian team in March for the world track championships.

He will be one of the biggest stories when the Australian cycling team for Rio is named on July 5.

Perkins is riding this week at the International Track Series Grand Prix, a four-day series of sprint racing at Melbourne's Joe Ciavola Velodrome.

The ITS is the last chance for Perkins and Kaarle McCulloch, another member of the London team, to convince selectors they should go to Rio.

Kelly told the Fox Sports' Full Cycle program that the three-man Australian team sprint combination was probably a top-five contender at the moment ahead of the Olympics.

He said they need Perkins' selection to make the combination a medal chance.

"He needs to be included for the guys to get up there," Kelly said of his old Victorian and national teammate.

"It's a tough one, (but) his form at the moment is so good.

"He's never gone as quick ... I think he should be in."

Kelly pointed to Perkins' strong results over the last few weeks at track events in Russia and the United States.

Australia will take two riders for the women's sprint events at Rio and at the moment, McCulloch is probably third in line behind track queen Anna Meares and Stephanie Morton.

Meares and Morton will also ride in Melbourne this week, along with compatriots Matthew Glaetzer, Pat Constable and Jacob Schmid.

Australian cycling's selection period ends the day after the ITS.

Cycling Australian national performance director Kevin Tabotta said the event was the last chance for riders to put a timed performance in front of the Rio selectors.

Leading track sprinters from Asia and New Zealand will also compete.