Ben is TORQ's research specialist. He holds a 1st class honours degree in Sports Science and is currently completing the highly regarded IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
Here at TORQ, we have been proud to support the Matrix Prendas women’s cycling team in 2012 and we are pleased to announce that they will continue to be TORQ Fuelled during the 2013 season. The team has had an exceptional year with some incredible results, including two Olympic gold medals. Team manager Stefan looks back over the team’s season...
2012 was always going to be a ‘different’ year; It was Olympic year and, with two riders in contention for the British Olympic Team, we needed to try and ensure that the long term focus of our team remained in the right place. We had six talented riders on the team, all looking to develop in their own right, and we needed to help them push forward as a team. 2012 was also the 3rd year our team had been in existence, already allowing us to meet one of our goals; a stable base for women’s cycling. We didn’t start the season with an individual event we wanted to win; we wanted to perform well in each race. With the level of competition we were up against, it wasn’t going to prove easy to get outstanding results but we believed our performances would lead to this.
The season started for us with a training camp in France. All of the team, excluding the two Olympians, arrived in Limoux in the South of France at the end of March for a two week camp, aimed at polishing fitness and bringing the riders closer together for the challenges they were going to face. With good weather, tough terrain and a hard training schedule, it was always going to be a good camp. We try to ensure the basic comforts of home are provided, with WiFi, TV, coffee shop options and a chance to relax after a hard days training. Many riders are still studying and, with deadlines for study submissions due, riders being able to get some quiet time is very important.
We returned to the UK in Mid April, just before the first race in Surrey and performed well. We needed to get some races under our belts in April before the busier months ahead.
It was then onto the Cheshire Classic. If there is such a thing as a early season classic in the UK, it’s this. A race that’s been running for years that represents the traditional kick-off of the UK women’s season. It’s also a very progressive race with the organizer always looking to push the limits and create a bigger and better event.
May kicked off back in Europe with Dani King collecting the team’s first win in Sinaai, Belgium. A born winner and World Champion, Dani gave the team a great confidence boost ahead of the races in the UK.
A solid Bedford 2 Day led us into a key part of the season in the UK; The Johnson Health Tech GP Series. Five women’s races, all receiving TV coverage that allows us to put our partners on the map. City centre circuits put the riders right in front of the fans of cycling in the UK and these events always boost excitement within the team. Winning round one was a fantastic start and our performance throughout was of a very high level. Jessie Walker, still a junior, put in some huge rides and, in doing so, put herself on the map for World Championships selection. Everyone in the team contributed to our overall success. We sadly lost Sarah Reynolds during the series to a nasty crash which put her on the sidelines for much of the remainder of the season, where she joined the injured Hannah Rich.
It’s also during this period of time that we take the opportunity to do some promotional work. With the majority of the riders on the team having other jobs or educational commitments, the times when riders are available are key to us promoting the team and our partners. It’s also very enjoyable and the results look great.
The JHT GP Series moves seamlessly into the National Road Championships. Although 5 weeks of criteria racing isn’t exactly ideal preparation for the longest road race of the year, we felt prepared and confident that we could challenge for medals in the U23 race. The race went very well and we took 2nd and 3rd in a tough race, which was a great return for all of the hard work put in by the team on the road.
July saw the team take on European Challenges with racing in Belgium and a stage race in France. With 2 guest riders, we managed to put in some great performances in the Tour of Brittany and get some top 10 results. It also led to the signing of guest rider Corrine Hall for the 2013 team.
This stage race was the foundation for the remainder of the season. A stunning win for Penny Rowson at the Newport Nocturne, ahead of team mate Hannah Walker, was one of the many season highlights.
Those looking at the team from the outside had always had their focus on Dani King and Jo Rowsell being part of the Olympic team. As a team, we were very proud to have been able to give these outstanding riders a helping hand on their way to world domination. World Record after World Record fell as Dani and Jo became household names, taking gold in London.
From start to finish, 2012 has been packed with highlights. Not always the obvious, and rarely results based, these performances have helped keep Martrix Fitness at the forefront of women’s racing in the UK. Our season culminated in Jessie Walker taking part in the winning GB junior team in the World Championships, seeing Lucy Garner retain her world title. The hard work to ensure we take steps forward in 2013 started long before the 2012 season ended. We’re confident that, together with our partners, we can bring more development, achievements and highlights this time next year.
Check out the newly released 2013 Team line up on UK CycleSport here; http://ukcyclesport.com/all-news/latest-news/item/8150-finalmatrix-fitness-2013-line-up and follow the team on Twitter @onthedrops.