And so we start the new 2016 season. As we noted in our press release back in October (Matrix Pro Cycling Announce 2016 Plans) this year is twofold. 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 Program which is helping riders progress and pursue European racing ambitions in a unique and supportive environment.
But before we move into this exciting time Team Manager, Stef Wyman looks back on his high points of 2015.
1. “Number one has to be the rise and rise of Molly Weaver. From the summer of 2014 when we first started speaking to her and her team at the time (Epic Cycles) about the potential of her joining us, she was nothing but fantastic. We helped her off the bike, and hopefully on it, and played a part in helping her step up the ladder to the new guidance of Hans Timmerman at Liv-Plantur, with whom I hold a huge amount of respect for. She deserves all the success she gets. Her ride in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (30th) and also Gent-Wevelgem (15th) really stood out. They weren’t her best results on paper but you could see the belief Molly gained from these performances about what was achievable in the future. It was actually very inspiring.”
2. “The success of our “track riders”. I took more than the normal level of public bashing about my move to sign two track riders, Laura Trott and Elinor Barker. I am still not sure why, as these riders are champions. They inspire the other riders in the team, they are professionals, and they are winners. Seeing them become our road focus in several events was fantastic, especially Elinor with her taking a Jersey in the Women’s Tour and also at the GP Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg. Special moments for sure and their efforts and commitment were hugely appreciated by all of the back room crew at the team.”
3. “Competing at La Course. An event I had not been to before, but one I am really proud we reached. I shared the trip and the memories from it with some of my best friends who have been a huge part in the team’s success. It proved to me that the event is far more than tokenism (My blog – Being careful what we wish for) and I hadn’t appreciated the enormity of the event from the outside. For a team and our sponsors the event is massive, it was off the scale. I will miss being there in 2016, but I will not miss that dreadful weather.”
4. “Winning! To me that is what cycling is about. It doesn’t matter what level, or what events; it’s about winning. People often talk about developing riders and development teams, but the focus in these teams, and top teams, is always on winning. So to win was relief to be honest. Christina Siggaard won a great race in Belgium and showed consistent form in the sprint. She is a talented rider I hope she can go onto great things. Kim Le Court also took a fantastic win after joining the team mid-season. She won in Belgium, having followed some team instructions helping her change good performances to the best result. She appreciated and understood the advice, grew as a rider, and I am sure winning in Belgium will stand her in good stead in her new team in Spain. There were many wins along the way, they give everyone a boost and they raise your standards, your expectations and your opportunities.”
5. “The team behind the riders was exceptional in 2015. Stuart MacLean helping me keep the train on the tracks as always, Huw Williams, Bart Raeymaekers, and Tom Prenan with the photography, the sponsors and belief they have in our program especially Jon and Gemma at Matrix Fitness. Then there is Richard Meadows (Mechanic), Dud (Swannie) and Steve. Their day to day contribution was massive. They worked themselves beyond anything I could have imagined or asked for. To work with your closest friends is such a pleasure. I’m putting all my focus onto building something bigger and stronger for 2017, when this fantastic crew can be reunited. Every shred of success from 2015 goes firmly to them and their hard work. I just drive the bus.”
Our final thought is that 2016 season will be one where we will move forward with our team principles:
Hopefully this time in 2017 we will review top performances at the Olympics and a new level for the team to look forward to.