I’ve always dreamt of sponsoring a cycling team. To see my logo emblazoned across it. To hear the name of my company in racing commentary. To wear a jersey that I helped create. I fulfilled that fantasy today. Matrix Vulpine.
My first cycling fantasies were riding ahead of Greg Lemond and Bernard 'Assault Badger' Hinault as I beat them to win the Tour de France. I was Thirteen.
Some time around adulthood I realised I’d never win the Tour, Giro or Paris-Roubaix. I wasn’t going to win very much at all. I was ….‘normal’.
I am a dreamer, so I created a new ambition. One that I could reach. Maybe. Just. To sponsor a cycling team. To see my logo emblazoned across it. To hear the name of my company (I’d have to set one up first, sigh) in racing commentary. To wear a jersey that I helped create.
I fulfilled that fantasy today. Vulpine is now title sponsor of Matrix Vulpine, Britain’s most successful women's racing team, with grand ambitions. Its a moment of huge pride and intense emotion. Forgive me, I’ve thought about this day for most of my life.
I didn’t want to put Vulpine’s name to any team. It had to have deeply held values. Innovation, dynamism, a strong positive voice and ambitions to change cycling, not just win races. the team has to have meaning.
Stef Wyman, the DS of Matrix Vulpine, left his job and sold everything he had to support and coach his wife, repeat European Cyclocross Champion Helen Wyman. Here is a passionate, outspoken doer. He wants to drive women’s cycling forward, with or without governing bodies’ support. He wants to show that women’s cycling is dynamic, exciting and not a pity sport. Its hellish hard, awesome to watch and commercially attractive and self-supporting. We want it to demand your attention, man or woman. If you love racing we want you to watch women’s racing, because its fun, not a sympathy vote. Women’s racing is like all bike racing. Brilliant, awe inspiring and a little bit extraordinary.
Many have questioned why I’d want to plough Vulpine’s resources into a racing team at all, let alone a women’s one. Well I’m a fan. It makes me happy to support an actual team, to be proud of what we’re doing, to wear the jersey on occasional rides and know I’m part of that.
I’ll be buying everyone at Vulpine a set of the new Matrix Vulpine kit, manufactured by Milltag, another young London design-minded company. We’ll each have our name printed into the sides “Hussey, Walker, Greig, Knight, Rudman.” How exciting is that? Ha haaa! We could have our own mock racing team. Good clean fun.
You too can show your support for Matrix Vulpine and get customised kit with your name on. We are selling Milltag fan packages online in a wide range of men's and women's sizes. A flicking brilliant Xmas pressie. The kits arrive in February, but Milltag will send you a certificate for Crimbo.
The first 100 get their name on the Skoda team car. I’ve taken five of those names for us already! Though maybe that’s cheating…
We have really exciting plans for the Women’s Tour of Britain in May. It has major status in the women’s racing calendar and its local to us. We’ll be supporting from outside and even inside the team car. Sponsor’s prerogative! Grin.