Matrix Fitness to ride Trek in 2015 – and at their first Classic — Two Brits in Top Ten at Koppenberg and Zonhoven… and another in Massachusetts — Team and Transfer News: new riders for VCUK-PHMas and PMR@Toachim House — Shorts and Interesting Links: Who are the top 50 women in UK cycling – Bike Biz wants to know — Photo of the Week
Latest: Dani King suffers collapsed lung and broken ribs in training crash (Cycling Weekly)
Matrix Fitness to ride Trek in 2015 – and at their first Classic
Matrix-Vulpine will become Matrix Fitness when they race at UCI professional level next season, and will also be aboard new bikes supplied by Trek.
“Matrix Fitness riders will be racing on the same 690g Émonda SLR wunderframe first introduced in July and ridden by Trek Factory Racing. The wind-cheating Speed Concept will carry riders in time trials. Both bikes will be finished with Bontrager wheels and components, and each member of the team will participate in Trek’s Precision Fit program,” says the official press release, which can be read here.
Meanwhile, the team has received its first confirmed entry for a Classic race – events which, in women’s cycling with its single grand tour, are of even greater significance than the men’s Classics.
Manager Stef Wyman, who doesn’t want to specify which Classic it is at present, announced the news on Facebook. “Excitement is high at OTD Towers. The highlight of our 2014 was being part of the Friends Life Women’s Tour. Hope to be there is 2015 also,” he added.
Two Brits in top ten at Koppenbergcross
Koppenbergcross is the first round of the BPost Bank Trofee and one of the most popular, drawing huge crowds from across Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Britain and much further afield.
Many British fans make the trip over to cheer for Helen Wyman, the most successful female rider in the history of this race, having won in 2010, 2012 and 2013 – but having made her home just down the road at Oudenaarde, Helen enjoys a huge amount of support from the local fans too. This time it was not to be; following a typically fast start that enabled her to take the slightly less bone-jarring line along the right-hand verge of the infamous cobbled hill, she was unable to prevent Sophie De Boer overtaking on the ascent; a later crash left her aching and she had to settle for eighth place with a disadvantage of 2’21” to the winner. “I’ll be back,” she promises in her race report.
Nikki Harris, who with Wyman led the race prior to De Boer’s take-over, was closest to a podium finish, recording a time of 45’28” – just six seconds behind third-place Sanne Cant, but sufficient to make her the best-performing British rider.
The stars of the show were undoubtedly Sophie De Boer of the Netherlands and Belgium’s Cant. De Boer lost time with a poor start, but refused to be discouraged and caught race leaders Wyman and Harris within the first lap before passing them and remaining in control through the final three laps – a very well-deserved victory. Cant crashed on one of the several technical corners but was up and on her bike almost immediately and then rode hard to make up time, remaining clear of the Van Paassen/Harris/Havlikova trio but never quite managing to catch Jolien Verschueren who finished 18″ behind De Boer.
Also in the race were British riders Amira Mellor, Hannah Payton and Marie Jackson, who finished in 18th, 22nd and 35th place respectively.
Wyman might not have had the race result she wanted, but it can be argued that this event represents an even greater victory than those she wins on the bike – she has led efforts to establish equal prize money for male and female riders at cyclo-cross competitions, and this race was the first in Europe to offer that. Read what she has to say in her race report.
Top Ten and British results
1 Sophie De Boer 44’38”
2 Jolien Verschueren 44’56”
3 Sanne Cant 45’22”
4 Sanne Van Paassen 45’28”
5 Nikki Harris ST
6 Pavla HavlikovaST
7 Ellen Van Loy 45’56”
8 Helen Wyman 46’59”
9 Githa Michiels 47’35”
10 Nikola Noskova 48’12”
18 Amira Mellor 50’03”
22 Hannah Payton 50’50”
35 Marie Jackson
…And at Zonhoven
Nikki Harris won at Superprestige Zonhoven last year and was once again the fastest British rider a day later at Superprestige Zonhoven, but this time taking second place when she finished 12″ behind Sanne Cant – Cant had suffered a poor start, but is widely considered the best rider on sand in the world today and used her skills to catch up, overtake and dominate the rest of the race before winning in 43’28”. However, Harris kept up the pressure on the Belgian rider and at one point was just 9″ behind.
Helen Wyman again suffered a crash, thanks to another rider getting too close, was the second rider to break into the top ten and also improved on her Koppenbergcross result, taking sixth place but with a larger disadvantage to the winner: 3’34”. Hannah Payton was 19th, Amira Mellor was 24th and Marie Jackson was 27th.
Top Ten and British results
1 Sanne Cant 43’28”
2 Nikki Harris 43’40”
3 Ellen Van Loy 44’55”
4 Pavla Havlikova 45’20”
5 Sabrina Stultiens 45’55”
6 Helen Wyman 47’02”
7 Jolien Verschueren 47’05”
8 Nikola Noskoa 47’35”
9 Laura Verdonschot 48’07”
10 Karen Verhestraeten ST
19 Hannah PAYTON
24 Amira MELLOR
27 Marie JACKSON
Gabby Durrin second at CycleSmart International
Meanwhile, Gabby Durrin made sure the British had a presence on the American ‘cross scene too, coming second at the CycleSmart International in Massachusetts where she was the only non-North American rider (and in fact one of only two from outside the USA, the other being Canadian Natasha Elliott). Durrin finished 21″ behind Cassandra Maximenko who won in 45’03”.
Top Ten and British results
1 Cassandra Maximenko 45’03”
2 Gabby Durrin 45’24”
3 Maureen Bruno Roy 45’30”
4 Elizabeth White 45’53”
5 Ellen Noble 46’19”
6 Brittlee Bowman 46’42”
7 Jenny Ives 46’49”
8 Jennifer Gaertner 46’59”
9 Katherine Northcott 47’00”
10 Kathryn Cumming 47’22”
Team and Transfer News
VCUK-PHMas, which is rapidly becoming one of the highest-profile teams on the British domestic circuit, has added another couple of names to its 2015 roster. Laura Morgan announced that she was joining a few weeks back; also signing up are Kirsty Boak (Tyneside Vagabonds CC) and Rosa Martin (Ribble Valley Juniors). Gemma Sargent, who was previously signed to the team but did not compete for them in 2014, remains onboard and will be racing with them in 2015.
One of the most interesting team stories this week is that of PMR@Toachim House, which a few weeks back posted a message on Twitter inviting individuals to register their interest and this week revealed a strong roster of seven riders who will be joining Louise Laker in 2015. PMR “Toachim House have been wanting to field a women’s team for a while – it’s great that it is finally happening,” Catherine Hills told Neutral Service. It was noted that PMR took four riders from WyndyMilla (as opposed to WyndyMilla-Reynolds),
Anna Sanchis and Amy Roberts will remain with Wiggle-Honda in 2015, meaning that twelve riders are now confirmed for the squad: Sanchis, Roberts, Mara Abbott, Anna Christian, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Jolien D’hoore, Nettie Edmondson, Emilia Fahlin, Chloe Hosking, Dani King, Elisa Longo Borghini and Eileen Roe. Giorgia Bronzini, arguably the team’s most high-profile member due to her two World Championship victories, is expected to stay.
Starley-Primal has announced their first new signing – Belgian rider Pia de Quint.
Shorts and Interesting Links
Who are the top 50 women in UK cycling?
Bike Biz is compiling a list and wants to know who ought to be on it. Neutral Service has recommended two women who, in addition to their racing schedules (and in one case, a high-pressure full-time job) have dedicated themselves to improving and promoting the sport. You, no doubt, have your own suggestions – so read what Bike Biz wants and send ’em an email. 🙂