(Picture: Nick Hussey – Vulpine)
We are thrilled to bring you more good news for Women’s Cycling with the launch of Matrix Fitness Team. Please read more for more information and photos.
(Top Left: Guy Collier Top Center: Simon Parker Top Right: Sarah Connolly Bottom: Guy Collier )
Matrix Fitness Racing Academy was launched on Friday 15th March in Central London. The team is an elite level UK women’s team with the aim of developing riders so they are ready to make the step into the professional peloton. A unique approach to a team launch was put in place, seeing riders spread all over the capital to collect a set of photos that reflected the personalities of the rider themselves. A group of photographers and writers were sent alongside the riders to capture an individual view of the team and its riders.
The success in recent years of women’s cycling is pushing organisers and the media to embrace women’s cycling in the UK. There are new high profile events in the UK in 2013 with more planned in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in 2014 along with the return of existing events giving the sport a more stable base. Matrix Fitness RA will be looking to be involved in as many of these events as possible as well as working with new and existing sponsors as it works towards full professional status in the near future. “We have always been performance based. Results are a bi-product of performance and we’ll stick to that principle. We have a very talented group of riders and I’m confident we can fast track their success, hopefully making their professional ambitions a reality.” Commented team manager Stefan Wyman
“With the addition of riders like Jo Tindley and Emma Grant, we feel we have the leadership and talent to make a major impact on races in the UK, and still be worthy additions to European races when we venture abroad. On top of these we have a much bigger increase in our non-racing activity with our partnerships with Skoda and Matrix as we continue to work with leading brands in the UK.”
There is an even bigger following of the team as it is central to Fan Backed Women’s Cycling. FBWC is a movement started at the end of 2012, where Women’s cycling fans are being encouraged to get more involved in women’s racing throughout the UK. These supporters include the photographers and writers that worked with the team during its team launch, starting at the HQ of Vulpine clothing. “Vulpine themselves contacted the team as part of the Fan Backed Women’s Cycling movement, and have put their backing firmly behind the team, and the sport. However FBWC isn’t about simply our team, it’s about the sport in general. We invited another team to share our launch evening (Bonito Squadra Corsa) and help to put them on the map in front of the assemble crowd and media.” Commented Wyman.
Matrix Fitness Racing Academy is also backing the sport further than simply investing in its group of riders. They are also backing the Bedford 3 Day to try to increase opportunities for all teams in the UK. This has had some great success with sponsors coming on board to allow an increase in the prize fund, increased awareness and far more media focus. The simple addition of an extra day of racing and a women’s support race were just the start.
“As with most ‘issues’ in women’s cycling, the answers, in my opinion, lie within the women’s cycling community. If, and that’s a big if we work together, we can actually strengthen the platform on which women’s cycling sits, giving the incentive to new organisers and the media to get involved in the sport. We shouldn’t be sitting back and waiting for the Federations governing our sport to make solutions for us.”
Matrix Fitness Racing Academy will start its season in France at the 3rd round of the French Cup. The team will be racing against leading French professional teams as well as other amateur squads. They will then return to the UK and race in Elveden in the series of races introduced on the new closed circuit venue. “We could have started in Scotland at the National Series, but we feel supporting a new series of women’s events, in a safe environment, will be beneficial to us and the sport in the long term. There are now so many quality teams in the UK, there is absolutely no reason there can’t be multiple events on the same weekend for women. It’s a really positive situation and very exciting for everyone in the sport.”
The major focus for the season will be the Johnson Health Tech GP run through May and June along with other leading criteriums, as well as the high profile established races like Cheshire Classic, Bedford 3 Day and the Curlew Cup. The team will be travelling to Scotland to take part in the National Championships, and in September the focus will switch to the National Track Championships where the team should be able to challenge for titles.