2016 will see the Matrix Fitness p/b Corley Cyles team link up Team Rwanda Cycling and specifically support Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu and their efforts to develop women’s cycling in Rwanda. Jeanne d’Arc is Team Rwanda’s first female athlete and manager Stefan Wyman says her story has captured the hearts and minds of the all Matrix Fitness team and its partners, and that the British team is determined to help her and make her to race professionally in Europe in the coming seasons.
Jeanne d’Arc became the first black African women to ride at the UCI Road World Championships when she raced in the USA in September 2015, where she finished 87th in the Road Race and 44th in the TT. Her talents were also on show at the recent African Continental Championships in Morocco where she took Silver in the ITT, missing out on gold by just one second; she was the only black African woman on the podium.
“We would like to create an opportunity for Jeanne d’Arc to race in Europe, and we are discussing options at the moment. Whether it is with us, or via our network of contacts, we’d like to see what’s possible to see if we can help provide another carefully planned step on the ladder for her,” said Wyman.
“Clearly, Jeanne d’Arc is hugely talented, and it looks like there are some fantastic people around her making sure the right pathway is put in place. Her time at the UCI training centre has obviously had great impact on her, and at some point in the coming two season, exposure to racing in Europe is going to be really important. “
“Team Rwanda are doing great things, and plan to have more women’s racing in Rwanda in the future. We are sure Jeanne d’Arc can inspire and encourage future riders in Rwanda, and hopefully we can do a tiny bit to help support her along with way. It was recently mentioned in an ESPN article that Jeanne d’Arc earns $1,200 a year and supports a large extended family with this income: we certainly hope we can add a little to this and make life for her and her family a little more comfortable.”
Team Rwanda was established by ex-professional rider Jacques “Jock” Boyer and now has several full-time ex-pro coaching staff develop our athletes, motivated by their love of cycling and desire to help our athletes succeed. Team Rwanda is also managed by Kimberly Coats, who is passionate about growing the women’s side of the team.
“Team Rwanda Cycling is very grateful to Matrix Fitness for wanting to support Jeanne d’Arc and her career. We at Team Rwanda understand the value of our partnerships in launching these young men and women onto the international cycling stage. We do not do it alone. Matrix Fitness’s goal to match and exceed Jeanne d’Arc’s salary will relieve stress for both the athlete and her national team and more importantly it shows the worldwide commitment to the growth of women’s cycling especially in developing nations such as Rwanda. We hope this is just the start of a fruitful and long partnership with Matrix Fitness. We also hope to find many more Jeanne d’Arcs on the roads of Rwanda!” commented a spokesperson for Team Rwanda.
The partnership will be formally launched at the team launch on 1 April at CycleFit Manchester where there will be various items for sale, including a signed canvas print of the team’s Olympic hopeful Elinor Barker, to help raise funds for Jeanne d’Arc.