Behind the scenes at the Friends Life Women's Tour with Matrix Vulpine - Stage 5

One final effort as the Matrix Vulpine team look to sign if in style at the first Women's Tour of Britain

by Tony Farrelly   May 11, 2014  

An incident packed first ever Friends Life Women’s Tour ended today in much the same way as it had begun with big crowds lining the route on another day of changeable - and very windy - spring weather

Matrix Vulpine have taken all the British weather and the race could throw at them and all six riders were still standing to take the start on the final day.  Vulpine’s Robin Godden takes up the story.

"The final Stage of the inaugural Women’s Tour set off from a very windy Harwich.

"The blustery conditions didn’t affect the racing with waves of attacks until eventually Emma Pooley & 3 riders went clear gaining a 40 second lead on the bunch.

"Lasting until 10km to go with Wiggle and RaboLiv driving the peloton to bring everyone back together for a bunch sprint on the tight finish in Bury St Edmunds.

"Vos, Branzini & Pieters contested the sprint with Vos taking her 3rd stage and win overall.

"Helen & Jessie came in with the bunch in 50th & 58th and Penny, Harriet, Mel & Jo all finished strongly in front of the big crowds.

"The team raced awesomely, exceeding expectation & impressed on the way.

"Bring on next year!"

Such has been the interest in the race and the team that the BBC sent a film crew to follow them on stage 1 - you can watch their film here.

So what else did we learn from this week’s race? The basic lesson seems to be that when it comes to women’s racing Marianne Vos is the boss. She made it three stage wins in a row taking the sprint in Bury St Edmunds to seal her overall victory, Emma Johansson was second and Rossella Ratto third. Lucy Garner was top Briton finishing 7th -

Lizzie Armitstead who had been in fourth place didn’t start today because of illness. Sharon Laws took the over Queen of the Mountains title. 

You can find out more about the Matrix Vulpine team via their website and you can find the Friends Life Women’s Tour online at

6 user comments

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Blinding effort well done ladies!

Thanks to Matrix Vulpine for all the twitter and instagram updates too! Was brilliant following the team. Smile

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~
Manx nerd peddler ~

mooleur's picture

posted by mooleur [542 posts]
12th May 2014 - 12:06


Despite Vos' dominance the racing (at least from the highlights) has looked very good, a lot of clever stuff going on.

Maybe what's needed though to break her dominance is more, big, well paid races? The more money put into training, the more riders able to train and race full time, the higher the quality of the field in general will be.

posted by Al__S [884 posts]
12th May 2014 - 14:10


Well said, a lot of that peloton will be in full time work or education, which impedes on training a lot when you consider the guys are doing upwards of 20h a week.

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~
Manx nerd peddler ~

mooleur's picture

posted by mooleur [542 posts]
12th May 2014 - 14:16


Had a great week following the race around. It was a real eye opener to see such massive crowds out on the streets, not just at the start and finish but all the way through the course. Sweetspot should be proud of what they managed to achieve with the event and hopefully in future years it can grow and thrive.

Matrix Vulpine can be equally proud of managing to stick with more experienced teams with much bigger budgets. They've got a great young bunch of riders coming through and in the absence of British Cycling giving a toss about women's road cycling, teams like this are the only way young riders like this can improve without having to leave the country.

Become convinced that the way forward for women's road cycling is to embrace the difference from men's. Have shorter stages with attacks going off all over the place - it's great to watch. There's no reason why the Women's Tour can't become as important to Women's Cycling as the 3 Grand Tours are to men's.

BTW: Great video from RaboLiv with some of the riders talking about what it meant to race in a race like this

posted by VeloPeo [271 posts]
12th May 2014 - 18:27



Went to see the end of Stage 5 as planned and followed it on TV and via social media. Great race, terrific organisation and great crowds. If anything, I hope Sweetspot add an ITT to it next year.

posted by Ghostie [93 posts]
12th May 2014 - 19:51


Thanks for the kind comments about the Matrix Vulpine team. Tried to fly the flag for the UK teams and put over a positive message.

Stefan Wyman's picture

posted by Stefan Wyman [7 posts]
15th May 2014 - 19:27