Cooper saddles up to a new challenge with SASI

11 Oct 2017

A CHANCE testing at the Tour Down Under in January 2015 has seen former champion BMX rider Cooper Tye show his budding prowess in the SASI cycling program.

Cooper, 16, said his introduction to cycling had been fulfilling.

''Friends and family read about the testing at the Tour village about three years ago so I thought I would give it a go.

''I wasn't sure how I would go, so I tested for fun and then Brett (Aitken) rang me and said my results were promising and it all went from there.

''I was on a training program at the start but once I received the SASI scholarship for cycling I decided to just race BMX for fun and be more serious about my cycling.

''The support from everyone at SASI has been awesome and unbelievable. From the testing I went on to the track, road and then got a bike. Everything was getting serious but it has been really enjoyable.

''I have a dream one day of riding the Tour de France. The chance I have now with cycling I have to grab with both hands - it's a great opportunity.''

Cooper, with four national titles in his 10 or 11 years in BMX, also competed at the world BMX championship in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he crashed in one of the qualifying rounds.

Cooper's success in cycling has been strong. This year he starred with victories at the 2017 State track titles in Individual Pursuit, Sprint and Team Pursuit. At the national track titles Cooper took out the Scratch Race and then received his SASI scholarship in August 2017.

Since then he has been a member of the SASI team competing at the Cycling SA Super Series in metro and country regions.

The Golden Grove High School Year 11 student will leave SA on October 18 with his  SASI teamamates, Joshua Harrison, Jarrad Drizners, Braden O'Shea, Cooper Sayers and fellow debutant Kael Thomas, for the Gippsland tour.

Cooper is not sure what to expect from the Tour but is keen to embrace the event.

''It's all about the experience but I'm not sure what will happen, given I am going from under-17s,'' he said.

''It's getting serious now and my short-term goal is to get the most out of the Tour. ''Then later we go to track nationals and see what happens from there.''

To follow the results at the tour head to the Cycling Australia website

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Cycling athlete- Cooper

Photo credit: Tim Loft