We are in a fantastic position at Yellow Jersey to sponsor professional athletes and teams in various disciplines, including Laura Trott’s Women’s road race team, Matrix Pro Cycling.
Only last week we had development rider Lucy Shaw and nine time British cyclocross champion Helen Wyman warming up on our stand ahead of the Croydon stage of the Pearl Izumi tour series; the race practically running past our office door. Next week we have the beginning of the Aviva Women’s tour, perhaps the most exciting Matrix event on the calendar for us, as it is an opportunity to see our team riding longer distances with huge crowds, and promoting our sport across the UK.
The Aviva Women’s tour will see riders from 16 teams competing across five stages, totalling approximately 600km of riding, and beginning with a 110 kilometre stage from Stowmarket to Aldeburgh in Suffolk on the 17th. As a UCI. A 2.1 race, The Aviva Women’s tour is matched only by the Giro Rosa and Tour of Qatar in esteem, and remains a resolutely popular event in every county it passes through. It is no surprise that the event attracts the highest level of teams and riders, including Matrix’s Laura Trott.
The Aviva tour is more than a world class woman’s race however, it is an opportunity to showcase women’s cycling, proving its audience year on year with its huge turnout and highlights coverage on ITV4. The woman’s Olympic road race provided one of the biggest spectacles of the 2012 games, with thousands lining Box Hill despite the rain to cheer on the competitors. However, while the women’s season remains busy, it is marked by a lack of longer tours and less than extensive television coverage. Sadly, the knock on effect can be a smaller take up of sponsorship by companies who would otherwise be keen to support the teams, leading in turn to athletes not receiving the support they need to ride at an international level.
Matrix rider Lucy Martin chats with BBC Radio 5 Live about the ups and downs of Women’s domestic and international cycling.
From BeSpoke: Women’s Special 04 Jun 15, BBC 5 Live
Matrix rider Lucy Martin’s blog on her experiences with Italian team Estado de Mexico, ‘The road far from Rio’, brings the problem into sharp focus. Told she was ‘not allowed to race again, with no warning, no reasoning’, yet contractually not allowed to race with a new team or independently, Lucy Martin was left in a situation which would have led many to leave the sport entirely. If a 2012 Team GB Olympian can be left with such uncertainty, yet continue to train and race, it must be impossible to doubt their passion and commitment, and should serve as a ringing endorsement for companies to throw in their support.
At Yellow Jersey, we gain a great deal from our sponsorship of Matrix Pro Cyling. It allows us to connect with an audience of dedicated cyclists and engage with them through the team, and it allows us to showcase our product in a professional context, but it also allows us to promote and support women’s cycling in the UK. With female athletes collecting five out of team GB’s eleven medals for cycling in 2012, it is important that sponsors continue their promotion of the women’s competitions if we can hope for similar results at the Rio games, and to continue bringing new riders into the sport.
Simon Lythgoe, head of business development at Yellow Jersey, chats with Matrix ahead of the Croydon stage of the Pearl Izumi, about British women’s cycling.
Hour long highlights of the stages will be broadcast at 8pm on ITV4 after each event, with additional material produced by several of the teams on their websites and YouTube. ITV Anglia will be promoting Matrix in the lead up to the tour, with the team’s Luxembourg feature on tonight and tomorrow night at 6pm, and articles posted throughout today on the ITV Anglia website.