Matrix Fitness Race Team, presented by Corley Cycles, launched officially at an event at Cyclefit Manchester over the weekend.

The team, home to World and Olympic champion Laura Trott, has some very different goals for 2016 and the event doubled up as an opportunity to raise funds for Team Rwanda and Rwandan cyclist, Jeanne d’Arc.

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Having cautiously dipped their toes into the UCI pro ranks for 2015, the team will this year be stepping back to focus on European racing. However, the event was used as a springboard for the news that they're planning a return to UCI level in 2017.

"We have some very exciting plans and it now a case of putting together a little more backing, but we are a long way towards our goal already."

Team manager Stefan Wyman explained: “This has to be our goal, and we are already dedicating much of our time to this behind the scenes. We have some very exciting plans and it now a case of putting together a little more backing, but we are a long way towards our goal already."

The nine rider squad features track athletes Laura Trott and Elinor Barker, and both were on hand at the event which saw canvas images sold off to raise money to help Jeanne D’Arc achieve her goals and inspire women all over the world.

Also looking forward to an exciting year ahead with the team are Alice Cobb, Alderney Baker, Junior World Championship Medallist Harriet Owen, two times Para Cycling World Champions Corrine Hall and Lora Turnham, National Junior CX champion Amira Mellor and young rider and former National Hill Climb Champ Isla Rush.

Laura Trott speaks as the images are auctioned. Image: Huw Williams

The team used the opportunity to display a video about Jeanne d'Arc, who is currently in Europe at the UCI centre racing in events for the UCI Team.

Wyman, who has been guiding the team since its inception and remains dedicated to furthering opportunities for female cyclists of all levels, told us: “Having heard that Jeanne currently receives a payment of $1,200 a year and supports her family with this, we were determined to match that figure this season to try to make life a little easier for this inspirational women. As it turns out, thanks to the generosity of the people who attended the launch we raised a little over $1,300 on the night, which we are very proud of."

In the video, Jeanne d'Arc tells us: "I hope to inspire women in my country and across Africa to [find] ways to have better futures."

She adds: "I will be racing in Europe this spring, and summer, with the UCI team. I hope I can some day race on a professional team, such as Matrix Fitness team.. with riders like Laura and her team mates. I appreciate all your support... helping my dream to become a professional cyclist."

Isla Rush, who helped out at the recent London Women's Racing training day, speaks to the audience. Image: Huw Williams

Alongside the video and sale of the canvas', there were opportunities for people to ask questions of the team members, and of course time for everyone to enjoy some cake.

We look forward to following the journey of the team over the coming year, and to seeing the way Jeanne d'Arc's career progresses.

Read more about Matrix Fitness Race Team and their UCI journey...

Matrix Fitness Choose European Racing to Make the Most of Funding Available

Matrix Fitness to Support Team Rwanda’s Female Cyclist Jeanne d’Arc

Stefan Wyman: Is the Women’s World Tour too Much too Fast?