Olympic track cycling team named for Tokyo

Melissa Woods
Track cyclist Matthew Glaetzer has overcome thyroid cancer to be selected for the Tokyo Olympics

Six Olympic newcomers and cancer survivor Matt Glaetzer are among a 15-strong track cycling team named on Thursday for the Tokyo Olympics despite the ongoing concerns with coronavirus.

Two-time world champion Glaezter is returning for his third games after overcoming thyroid cancer while Annette Edmondson has also won selection for the third time.

London medallist Kaarle McCulloch missed Rio in 2016 but will partner Stephanie Morton in the team sprint after winning last year's world championship.

Glaetzer, McCulloch and Morton, as well as Nathan Hart and Matthew Richardson will compete in the sprint events, with Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure, Edmondson, Maeve Plouffe, Leigh Howard, Kelland O'Brien, Lucas Plapp, Alex Porter and Sam Welsford selected for the endurance events.

Alex Manly and Cameron Meyer - with 11 world titles between them - could be considered unlucky omissions.

Meyer, who was targeting the madison and or the omnium, must secure a spot on the road team to ride in Tokyo.

Australian Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman acknowledged the uncertainty around whether the games will even go ahead but said they needed to "set a course" as if they were.

"We are in unchartered waters, but we want to set a course to ensure they can prepare for the Games in the best possible environment and they can get to the Games safely," Chesterman said.

"The resilience these athletes have already shown is inspiring - Matt Glaetzer's named to his third games despite the challenge of thyroid cancer; Kaarle McCulloch overcoming the disappointment of missing Rio 2016 to become world champion in 2019 and make her Olympic return ...

"Each athlete selected today has a story of perseverance and we're proud to select them.

"There's certainly disruption in preparing for the Games for many sports, but I encourage the 15 cyclists announced and all athletes pursuing their dream of competing at Tokyo 2020 to continue taking care of what they can control - training and preparing as best as possible to be ready."

McCulloch was proud to be selected for her second Games, just weeks after she secured a 2020 world championships team sprint silver with Morton off limited preparation.

"My motto into the world championships was 'perfect preparation doesn't predict'," the 32-year-old said.

"This is the same kind of attitude I'll be taking with me into Tokyo amidst all the uncertainty and nervousness in the world right now.

"As athletes, we are role models for everyone for health and we are taking quite serious steps in our training to ensure we are being responsible athletes but also people.

"We are following all the guidelines as set out by our medical professionals and we are prepared to face this challenge."

At just 19 and the youngest in the team, Plapp will make his Olympic debut after a monumental rise in the past 12 months.

Team pursuiter Plouffe is also 19 while sprinter Richardson is just 20.

The selection takes the selected Team size for Tokyo 2020 to 43 athletes.

Cyclists in the road, BMX, BMX Freestyle and Mountain Bike disciplines are expected to be nominated and selected in the coming months.

Australian cycling has also been hit by the coronavirus pandemic with one of its staffers testing positive early this week after returning from the Berlin world titles.