Matrix Fitness (the UK subsidiary of Johnson Health Tech Co Ltd) is set to continue sponsorship of the ‘On The Drops project’ (Matrix Pro Cycling) in 2016. It will be the 7th consecutive year the team has operated in partnership with Johnson Health Tech, a world leader in fitness equipment who’s UK headquarters is Stoke-on-Trent. Matrix are joined again by co-sponsors Trek Bikes UK and clothing manufacturer Milltag. 2015 has been an extremely exciting and fulfilling ride for the Matrix Pro Cycling team by participating in some of the world’s leading races with a young and talented line up.
Following a strategic review by the team management and the main sponsors, where the aims of the team, the World Tour, and the development of the UK sport were all considered and it was agreed that the team should change direction whilst still staying true to its founding principles of talent development, stability and integrity.
In 2016 the team will fulfil two pivotal roles. Firstly, the team will support the British track stars, Laura Trott and Elinor Barker providing a secure and stress-free base on which to build their Olympic campaign. Secondly, the team will commit more resources to its Rider Academy Programme which is helping riders progress and pursue European racing ambitions in a unique and supportive environment. Rather than chasing a full world tour race programme in an Olympic year, the team will concentrate on providing riders with a European race base, all important funding and industry support with leading high quality products. This will allow the riders the opportunity to follow a program of national level competition in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and France. The program will be supplemented by UCI level racing when the appropriate opportunity arises.
With experienced staff, quality coaching, sports physiology and psychology, we have put together a group of people that can allow our riders to flourish and hopefully progress to roles on some of the world’s leading professional teams, where they can challenge in leading races.
Team Owner Stefan Wyman confirmed, “Over the past twelve months we’ve seen big advances within Women’s Cycling, with the proposed introduction of the Women’s World Tour in particular. But it’s also the case that the funding situation for teams isn’t getting any easier. This has led us, and our key sponsors to review what we are doing, and look for our niche within the sport that we believe will give our riders the best opportunity to progress, but will also still provide the best return on investment to the sponsor. We looked at our position in the sport, and what we feel 2016 will include given the inclusion of World Tour events. There are still a lot of unknowns in the proposed rule changes for the sport, especially for teams that aren’t in the World Tour when it starts in 2017. Over the course of this season we’ve really looked hard at ourselves, the sport and what niche areas just aren’t covered right now.”
“It’s clear to us riders want to get out and win, they want to race in Europe, Belgium and Holland, and many have said to us that a pro team environment can actually restrict opportunities at times. After all, in a small team you never know too far in advance when you’re going to get race entries, if at all. This season has also seen many smaller UCI races being dominated by mixed teams, taking away a developing rider’s opportunity to impress at the business end of the race in some cases. So we thought we’d try to find a solution.”
“I would like to think we will have a team which can be competitive at World Tour level in the future, when the time is right, but for now we feel this is the most valuable place for us. We can have a real impact on rider’s careers; provide a more generous package and more input to each rider. As we have seen this year our riders can progress onto UCI teams at any point with our complete blessing, as we did this season with Molly Weaver who’s progression we see as one of the biggest success stories of the team in 2015. Progression like that is now in fact almost the goal here for us,.”
“Throughout the 6 years the team’s been in existence, we’ve been backed by Matrix Fitness or other Johnson Health Tech’s brands. This company, in my opinion, has changed the face of women’s cycling in the UK. It has given us televised racing, significantly contributed towards the formation of the Women’s Tour through its vision, and given a huge number of riders’ opportunities. I can’t really put into words my thanks to them and to Jon Johnston. For them to be joined once again in 2016 by Trek bikes UK, and Milltag, but are also seeking a co-title sponsor to share in the naming rights of the. We know we have a great line up of partners, to which we hope to add some new names over the coming months.”
Ed Cowburn from Milltag said, “It is with great pride that we continue our partnership with Stefan and the team in this new phase. We have complete trust in the vision and hard work that goes into its running and will do our utmost to provide the highest quality kit and exciting new designs in 2016.”
The team have already received a high volume of applications to join over the past few months and are still accepting more applications from riders.