Eleven riders joined together yesterday to officially introduce the 2015 Matrix Fitness Pro Cycling Team as they step up to new territory in the professional ranks.
The riders include seasoned pros such as National Road Race Champion and two time Olympic medallist, Laura Trott, Track World and Junior TT Champion, Elinor Barker, alongside 17-year-old development rider Lucy Shaw.
Stefan Wyman has managed the team since 2010 and explained the magnitude of their promotion to pro ranks, saying: “We’re moving up from an amateur team to a professional team, and we’re riding against the biggest teams in the world, at the biggest races, over the biggest distances."
The team have been supplied with Trek bikes, Milltag race clothing and USN nutrition, as well as having help from sports scientists at Staffordshire University, who hosted the launch.
Husband to professional cyclocross rider, Helen Wymam, promoting women’s cycling is a job that is close to Stefan’s heart and he explained: “We [the team, Matrix and Johnson Health Tech] have put a lot of work in to try and promote women’s cycling in the UK and make some bigger foundations for the sport to move forward."
Laura Trott joined the team this year, as preparations for Rio ramp up, but she was clear that the support for women’s cycling shown by the team was also instrumental in her choice.
She explained: “I think what Matrix do as a company, not even as a cycling team, is massive, they sponsor the Women’s Tour, they sponsor the Tour Series, which is televised, and I think what they do in encouraging women to get out on their bikes and enjoy what we do is huge and I want to be a part of that."
The team seem to be gelling well as a unit, and Elinor Barker, who joined Matrix with Trott, added: “I just feel like part of the team, we seem to be getting on really well, and they’re just genuinely lovely girls."
Penny Rowson has ridden with Matrix for five years, and has seen the team grow from strength to strength. She said: “The best thing about being part of a pro team now is how organised we are, there are a lot of people behind the scenes who are really important to what we do."
Joining the team alongside her A level studies, is 17 year-old Lucy Shaw. She explained: “The best thing about being part of Matrix is all the opportunities it throws up, and its so well organised, such a professional team in every aspect, being in that environment is a really good place to learn and develop as a rider."
Working with bike sponsors Trek following his retirement, ex-pro Jens Voigt was on hand throughout the day, he told the girls: “Explore cultures whenever you can – it’s an adventure, not just a job – embrace it."
Race number one for the team is Omloop het Nieuswblad in Belgium on Saturday, they'll also be racing the Tour of Flanders and will be targeting the Women's Tour - you can keep up with them here.