ARARAT cyclist Alice Culling is among the country’s brightest junior cycling prospects after winning bronze at the 2014 Cycling Australia Junior Track National Championships in Sydney on Thursday.
Culling took home the medal after comfortably accounting for Queensland opponent Alexandra Martin-Wallace by more than three seconds in the junior women under-15 2000-metre individual pursuit bronze medal final at Dunc Gray Velodrome.
It was an all-Victorian podium, with Culling’s team-mates Georgia Cummings and Alana Field taking out gold and silver.
“They were really tough days of racing, really challenging but rewarding,” she said.
“The medal was the highlight of the week.
“I was pretty pleased to finish top eight in all my events, and I took six and a half seconds off my personal best in the individual pursuit.”
Cycling Victoria team manager and chairman of selectors Laurie Norris said it was a magnificent effort from Culling, one of four female under-15 cyclists representing Victoria at the championships.
“Alice was just fantastic,” he said.
“I tipped she’d ride a PB in two of her three events and she did that.
experience and she won a bronze medal, which was brilliant.”
Norris said the Ararat teenager had made huge progress across the four-day competition.
“I’ve never seen her ride that well,” he said. “A lot of times when kids go to the national championships for the first time they get overawed, but she just lapped it up.”
He said Culling – who fell just short of a top-two finish in qualifying – still had plenty of improvement to come.
“To run that time was just exceptional,” Norris said.
“She was only half a second away from the silver medal-winning time, and I’m pretty positive this is her first year.”
“I would think next year she’s going to be even better.”
Culling also competed in the under-15 sprint, 500-metre time trial and 30 lap points race events, finishing eighth in all three events from fields of 16 or more competitors.
Victoria enjoyed a successful run at the championships, winning the Ray Godkin Shield with a tally of 102 points.
“We were the champion state, which we haven’t been for four or five years,” Norris said.
“For us to win by so much was unbelievable, we just kept getting medals.
“It was a brilliant series with a brilliant bunch of kids.
“They just rode out of their skins, it was incredible.”