The coach of the young Kaitaia road cyclist who took out a major North Island title last weekend said her achievement should not be underrated by anyone.
Tuesday's edition noted Tyla Mia Foster won the Under 13 North Island Secondary School championship in Cambridge on Saturday, first in a highly touted field of 38 including students from the likes Saint Kentigern, Baradene, Diocesan, Cambridge and Saint Marys [Kaitaia whizz in pink, July 11].
Foster's coach, Phil Gibbs, said her performance last weekend was far and away the best result ever produced from the Far North Flash club which he helped found, and should not be underestimated by anyone.
"Tyla Mia is the first road cycling champion the North has produced. This is huge in the cycling world and she is a bona fide champion," he said.
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Gibbs noted the entire FNF team - which included Foster alongside Crystal Wikaira, Moengaroa Tangimetua and Brooklyn Dunn Lloyd - performed admirably at the event, claiming 6th place overall in the event's Year 7/8 team time trial.
All four riders hail from Kaitaia Intermediate School, as does Glennis Walters, while Renee Harrison is still at Kaitaia Primary (the latter two attended but didn't compete at the North Island champs). Gibbs noted the strength of the field in the North Island event contrasted sharply with only three seen contesting the South Island title in the same age grade.
"She [Tyla] and the team are getting a huge wrap from the cycling fraternity here. We went in to the event as nobodies," he reminded, noting the accolades were still coming in, while the national media's interest in the team continued to spike.
"It's the hottest story at the moment," he said, adding TV One came north and spent several hours with the cyclists earlier this week to get some footage for another segment due to screen shortly.
Gibbs has taken his young Far North Flash girls into a cycling training camp in Auckland this week to help prepare for the Hub two-day winter tour in Hastings next weekend.