• Caitlin Ward, Kaarle McCulloch and Lara Tucker. (Con Chronis)Source: Con Chronis
Kaarle McCulloch’s (NSW) thirteenth national crown and maiden individual titles to rising stars Maeve Plouffe (SA) and Luke Plapp (VIC) highlighted the opening day of the 2019 Cycling Australia Track National Championships in Brisbane.
Cycling Central

Cycling Australia
4 Apr 2019 - 9:42 AM  UPDATED 4 Apr 2019 - 10:12 AM

Just a few weeks after her triple World Championship medal haul, Sydney’s Kaarle McCulloch claimed a thirteenth career national title, her fifth elite women's 500m elite time trial crown.

The last of ten riders to take to the start line, McCulloch clocked 34.185sec, over half a second ahead of Victoria’s 2016 champion Caitlin Ward (34.727). Queensland’s Lara Tucker used the parochial home crowd to her advantage as she took bronze in a time of 35.624sec.

“I am a bit surprised with that ride actually, it shows my form hasn’t dropped off too much since the World Championships, but that hurt a lot more than the worlds, let me tell you,” McCulloch said.

“Clearly the form isn’t 100 per cent straight off the back of the World Championships, but you have to put yourself in a situation where it is challenging, where you are under pressure and you have to execute.

“And that’s my goal this week. If you are prepared to lose, then you are prepared to win.”

Podium Potential Academy athletes Maeve Plouffe (SA) and Luke Plapp (VIC) celebrated maiden individual national titles in the elite individual pursuit.

Plouffe, 19, a three-time national champion in the team pursuit and Madison events, was commanding in her five-second victory (3:38.856) over fellow Academy member Sam De Riter (VIC/3:43.042). Victorian Ruby Roseman-Gannon joined the pair on the podium beating Lauren Perry (TAS) for bronze.

“I feel pretty amazing, this is my second year as a senior and this is my first individual elite title,” Plouffe said. “It’s my third elite title this year so I am really grateful for that and grateful for the opportunity to race today.

“I’m really proud of myself, I knew I had to go out there and control my race which I have struggled with in the past, so today I decided to take a more mature approach and it really paid off. I’m excited for what’s to come.”

The race of the day came in the elite men’s final with Plapp (4:22.964) surging in the final lap to steal the gold from Queensland’s Blake Quick (4:23.962). Jarrad Drizners (SA) finished third with a time of 4:24.263sec.

“It is a pretty unreal feeling, it was awesome to share the podium with Blake and Jarrad,” Plapp said. “It was a nailbiting final, Blake just went out there from the start and wanted to race. It wasn’t the way I wanted to do it, but full props to him he rode a brilliant race and put me under pressure right away.”