Matrix Fitness–Vulpine launch and line-up 2014

Following last season’s central London launch, Matrix Fitness – Vulpine headed to the home of British Cycling – Manchester – and  specifically to Popup Bikes to introduce the 2014 team. 

A new, individual and up-and-coming venue on the cycling scene, Popup provided everything needed to launch an exciting new line-up for the coming season, while the Manchester streets provided the perfect backdrop for amazing photography to document the occasion (courtesy of Andy Whitehouse), as the team once again looked to produce something out of the ordinary

The 2014 line-up brings together many different influences.  Leading the team in a mentor role is European cyclocross champion, Helen Wyman.  Having ridden three World Road Championships and won Jersey classifications in UCI ranked stage races, she offers the road experience required to step up to new challenges, including the Women’s Tour.

For the first time in several years, the team includes an overseas rider; Holland’s Sigrid Jochems. A leading sprinter on the European scene, Sigrid is returning to the sport after four years absence while she pursuing a gymnastics career.

The British Cycling Olympic Development Program is well represented with Mel Lowther, returning for a second year, and Bethany Hayward; a natural climber who will be looking to represent Team GB at the World Junior Championships in 2014. The team feels it has a solid future with these two emerging talents.

 

Harriet Owen ©AndyWhitehouse

Harriet Owen ©AndyWhitehouse

Returning riders Jessie Walker, Harriet Owen, and Jo Tindley are re-joined by Penny Rowson who briefly departed the team in 2013 but comes back with renewed determination to reach the highest heights of the sport. Louise Borthwich, last year’s stand out rider on the domestic scene also joins, and alongside Harriet – who is now a full-time cyclist – will make a formidable attacking line-up as the team targets the UK’s biggest races.

The final rider to come on board for the 2014 season is Para-cyclist, Lora Turnham, riding with her tandem pilot Corrine Hall, who in her own right is a current National Champion on the track. In 2013, this duo stormed to the World Title in the road Time Trial, and plan to take on three events in this year’s World Track Championships.

“We have a real mix; different skills, different personalities, even different disciplines, but we are very much one team.  This group has so much talent it will be a real disappointment if we don’t make the step up to professional status in 2015.  That’s the goal. We are already firmly working on 2015” commented Team Manager, Stefan Wyman. “This season we have a new set of sponsors, integrating with long-term partners like Matrix Fitness and Velocite, and everyone is motivated to make the step up. We want to be at the newly formed Tour de France event in 2015, along with other key events.  However this year all of our focus is on the Women’s Tour. We need to step up, present ourselves in the best manner possible, and hopefully surprise a few people with our results.”

The launch event itself centered on a RollaPaluza competition; with participants battling it out on a pair of custom-built rollers connected to a huge dial, with split-second digital timing over a simulated 500m distance, at speeds in excess of 50mph. The action was accompanied by Rollapaluza’s own Caspar Hughes as DJ, music and cheering crowds. It was perhaps no surprise that Team sprinter, Harriet Owen, won the main event.

The team Q&A, introduced by Chris Garrison, Bontrager UK, was dominated by talk of the Women’s Tour, but it was clear from the 100+ crowd that there is a thirst for knowledge on the sport, with an ever increasing number of cycling fans prepared to come out and support women’s racing.

One question: “What will it be like to race against Vos?” was met with this response from Wyman: “Vos is amazing for the sport and she has been for about eight years now. She has really raised the level of women’s cycling, but there are others like Emma Johanson, Lizzie Armitstead, and Lucy Garner who will go very well in the Tour so I don’t think it will be a one woman show. She will try and get wins for her team as much as for herself. We won’t be going there to just make up the numbers. If I thought that I would have politely rejected the offer. We go there with real ambition, so it’s realistic for us to score a top ten in a stage, which will be incredible for a team of our size. We are not going to celebrate just finishing, we want to achieve, and at this level it’s all about one member of the team getting a result.”

The team now heads off to Limoux in the South of France, where they have just over two weeks together before returning to the UK for the Tour of Reservoir – the first team event of the season.

 

Matrix Fitness-Vulpine kitWant to ride in Matrix Fitness-Vulpine kit?

Purchase yours here.

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

Meet #TeamSkoda for RideLondon

#TeamSkoda for RideLondonWhen I saw the bombardment of tweets about those that had been lucky enough to get a place in this year’s RideLondon, I realised I was missing out on something. At the time, I was living in Amsterdam. I didn’t know where I was going to be come August 2013, and I hadn’t really grasped just what RideLondon was at the point of the application deadline back in August 2012.

As more and more friends around me started to brag about their place, I was secretly plotting to turn up and ride the course not wanting to miss out, although I wouldn’t have the medal and official finish time to brag about at the end.

And then, I just happen to see this:

“Calling all female readers – this competition has been extended as we are looking for some female entrants to… fb.me/I2dhuqpJ

Meet #TeamSkoda

Meet #TeamSkoda

Hmmmm…. This sounds interesting! Thinking nothing of it, I wrote a short profile about my cycling experience and my goals for the year – to start track racing and become a competent hill climber – added a couple of photos and sent it off to CyclingPlus and Bike Radar. Expecting there to be many stronger riders than myself applying, I was rather in shock to open my email one morning the following week to this: “Congratulations! You’ve been picked as 1 of 6 to ride for Team Skoda!” ARGH!! I was stunned. Me? They picked ME?!

Prudential RideLondon is an annual world-class festival of cycling developed by the Mayor of London, London & Partners and Transport for London in partnership with Surrey County Council. Held over the weekend of 3rd and 4th August, Skoda are supporting the weekend as the Official Car Supplier with over 30 support cars provided for the event.

The weekend features a series of events for amateur, club and world elite cyclists, the 100 mile road race will take place on closed-roads through London and Surrey and is expected to attract up to 200,000 visitors and 70,000 cyclists including an eight-mile family-fun ride featuring London’s most iconic landmarks.  It’s quite possibly the largest event of it’s kind in the UK, and continuing the legacy of last year’s London Olympics is expected to be a fantastic weekend on two wheels.

Not only do I get to wear Team Skoda kit as I train over the coming months (eagerly sat waiting the postman for delivery) but we also get the privilege of training with Rapha-Condor JLT and Matrix Fitness. This is an unbelievable experience.

On April 17th, I set off to the Welsh town of Pontipridd. Set up on the forecourt of the Skoda garage were the event trailers of Skoda Cycling and the Rapha-Condor JLT and Matrix Fitness support cars, complete with team members. Ed Clancy and James McCallum representing the force of Rapha, and Helen Wyman and Harriet Owen of Matrix Fitness; the latter whom I had the pleasure of spending 60km of challenging Welsh terrain with.

Harriet Owen & Helen Wyman of Matrix Fitness

Harriet Owen & Helen Wyman of Matrix Fitness

One of the best experiences of the day was having the Matrix Fitness support car with Stefan Wyman up along side me for majority of the ride, who thankfully, provided some much needed motivation and words of advice on the 12% sharp climbs and 5 mile “mini Alpe d’Huez” of the Blwych. In the car with Stefan was our camera man for the day – recording every moment of my ride. Trying to look comfortable (and keep the language clean) on those tough climbs was not easy, especially as all I wanted to do was hold on to the car and let it do the hard work for me – couldn’t have that on camera though! After all, I have 100 miles of tough cycling ahead of me in August.

Getting to ride up, close and personal with pros is a priceless experience – seeing just how they handle certain ride situations, their power output on climbs in comparison to the flats, and receiving general advice from those that know best. And, there was no need for any star-struck moments, they were typically happy to share their passion for the bike with us.

For once, Wales stayed dry and fairly warm apart from a decent headwind which only helped as a natural break reaching 70kmph on the decent from the top of the Blwych. Wales, which will feature highly in this year’s Tour of Britain, can be best described as the ‘Alps on our doorstep’. Fantastic challenging climbs perfect for a long-weekend without the long travel time. And, the boys from Ajax Cycling Club who lead us out that day, would be more than happy to lead you out on a Sunday too!

 

For more information about RideLondon visit: http://www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk

You can also track our progress in Cycling Plus magazine over the coming months, or following #teamskoda.

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

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