Fitness equipment manufacturer, Johnson Health Tech UK, continues in its role as main sponsor for the sixth consecutive year, with their commercial brand reflected in the team’s new name – Matrix Fitness – while clothing company Vulpine continues its support in a non-title capacity.
Matrix Fitness Managing Director, Jon Johnston, said of the company’s decision to renew sponsorship:
“The team has gone from strength to strength since we first got behind them for the 2010 season, with numerous success stories along the way – not least Dani King’s progression from Junior rider to World and Olympic Champion. As a company, we are committed to supporting grassroots activity, and our involvement with the team enables us to directly support rising talent. It also gives us an opportunity to work with the riders to promote the benefits of physical activity to the general public, and as the team’s notoriety grows – particularly with elite riders such as Laura Trott coming on board – we are looking forward to inspiring even more people to get active.”
Following the announcement that double Olympic gold medallist, Laura Trott OBE, will be joining the team in January, an impressive line-up has now been confirmed, including Lucy Martin, Elinor Barker, Molly Weaver, Harriet Owen, Mel Lowther, Jessie Walker, Sara Olsson, Christina Siggaard, and Penny Rowson, who enters her fifth season with the team. The squad will be completed by a yet-to-be-announced UK Junior rider; re-affirming the team’s long-held commitment to young rider development.
Commenting on the team’s progression, Team Manager, Stefan Wyman, said:
“Our first five years have seen us invest in and develop the sport, along with other like-minded stakeholders. We’ve sparked conversations, challenged established methods, and done what we can to progress the sport for all involved. Now it’s time to focus more on our progression as a team, although we will still be investing in the women’s cycling scene in the UK, and remain one of the most open and accessible teams in the world.”
“We’ve had some great success with Junior riders from the UK. Jessie Walker started as a Junior with us, and she really found herself as a rider this year, with outstanding performances in a number of high profile events including the Friends Life Women’s Tour and the Tour of Brittany. Mel Lowther has displayed great talent too; progressing throughout the year to take 7th in the Junior World TT Championships in September. I see no reason to change what is already a good system providing a stepping stone for young riders who are on the fringes of the Great Britain stage.”
The team’s 2015 race program has been developed with input from coaches, riders, and the team management, and reflects a firm commitment to the World Calendar, with hopes that the team will compete in the Friends Life Women’s Tour, La Course, and the Tour of Flanders. The team will also travel the UK to take part in key events such as the Tour Series and Nocturne events.
“Being based in Oudenaarde, it makes sense for us to put a lot of focus on the Tour of Flanders” commented Team Coach, James Spragg. “We’ll perhaps be the most local team and historically it’s up there with the most prestigious events on the women’s pro calendar.”
As the riders prepare for the newly-formed team’s first training camp – an action-packed week in Limoux, France, under the direction of Director Sportif, Chris Georgas – Wyman considers the road ahead:
“I remember standing up at our 2014 team launch at Popup Bikes, and answering questions about the direction of the team over the coming years. I aimed to take the team to UCI level in 2015, and to be in the World’s top 10 in 2017. That still stands, and to be able to do that with the maximum continuity possible is something I’m very proud of.”