The Pearl Izumi/Matrix Fitness Grand Prix tour of the UK set off on Tuesday night for a forty five minute criterium round Redditch town centre.
The first stage of the series saw riders from twenty two teams competing on the 1.4 kilometre circuit, with its start finish line on the usually quiet street Church Green West, and incorporating a short but draining climb of Union Hill each lap.
Despite a few falls early on, double Olympic Champion and Yellow Jersey sponsored Matrix team rider Laura Trott was able to lead a breakaway of five riders, including teammate Elinor Barker, to a twenty second lead over the peloton, and claim first place. In the team standings, based on the total time of all riders in each team, Matrix were able to claim second place behind Team Giordana Triton, providing great confidence for the next four races in the series.
With community events running throughout the day, and highlights on ITV4 yesterday evening, Redditch and the tour are making significant strides in the continuing promotion of Women’s Cycling in the UK.
Having started as a one off event in 2011 as part of the Stoke-on-Trent tour series, the Grand Prix has grown in size and prominence year on year, with at least some credit due to the success and popularity of Women’s Cycling at the 2012 Games. High profile riders such as Olympic champions Joanna Roswell and Dani King have been drawn to the event over the past few years, but the series has also provided an opportunity for lesser known riders to progress to international race teams. 2013’s individual winner Hannah Barnes was able to carry her success over to UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, and Eileen Roe’s success in the 2014 series came prior to her contract with this year’s Wiggle Honda team.
Round three, on Tuesday the second of June,consists of a flat one and a half kilometer criterium in Croydon Town centre, one of two races to take place in London, and practically past the Yellow Jersey office door!
Taking in a long straight along North End, and a twisting section through the historic Surrey Street Market -with plenty of space for the expected huge crowds- the Croydon race promises to be a particular highlight.
While we attend as many professional and amateur cycling events as we possibly can, the Matrix Grand Prix stop in Croydon offers a fantastic opportunity for the entire Yellow Jersey office to get out, and enjoy cycling within our own community. We will be exhibiting on the day in the sponsors area, allowing us to network with other cycling based companies and meet with friends from local clubs in a unique context, as well as spend time with our professional Women’s Road Cycling team.
East Croydon train station is fifteen minutes from central London with good connections from Clapham Junction, London Victoria and London Bridge, and a three minute walk from the start finish line. If you are London or Surrey based, the Croydon race will be a great family event with some intense racing featuring many big names in Women’s and Men’s cycling.
We invite all of you to stop by the Yellow Jersey stand in the sponsor’s area, towards the top of North End. We always enjoy meeting customers and fellow cyclists, and will be providing space for the Matrix team to warm up and prepare for the race. The riders will be chatting with fans and signing autographs, so come along and give your support.