British Cycling to receive world-leading wind tunnel as a gift from Halfords
While elite athletes will be the predominant users of the facility, even grassroots cyclists will have access to it
British Cycling have been gifted a state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility by bike and motor retailer Halfords.
The donation, which is said to come at a cost of a million pounds, has been made by Halfords to help British cyclists achieve their aspirations.
Designed by Chris Boardman, a gold medallist at the 1992 Olympic Games and an aerodynamic expert, the wind tunnel was unveiled in 2018 and is currently based at Evesham in Worcestershire.
Before the end of 2021, the facility will be moved to its new site at the Etihad Campus in Manchester, adjacent to the national velodrome.
>>> Read our feature looking at the wind tunnel from 2018
Having the world class facility on-site and available for use whenever required is a huge advantage for British Cycling, giving it an unrivalled edge over other national governing bodies.
Stephen Park, performance director at British Cycling, welcomed the announcement. “The primary focus of the Great Britain cycling team is to support talented riders to achieve their best and continue to deliver world-leading performances,” he said.
“Having this facility in Manchester, the home of British Cycling, means that, thanks to Halfords, we will be able to continue to develop our understanding of bicycle aerodynamics, the related performance impact and therefore provide an even better service to riders who represent this country with pride.
“It will be a fantastic addition to the elite training facilities available to British riders while providing even better value for the investment we receive from the National Lottery via UK Sport.”
The wind tunnel, that will further be upgraded before its relocation, includes a number of high-technological feature that permits for optimal analysis, including a world-first data capture system that relays video imagery and other information back to the rider in real-time.
Should a rider want to increase or decrease the wind speed, or even alter the direction, they are also able to, allowing conditions to be mimicked in preparation for an event.
While use of the wind tunnel will mostly be by British Cycling athletes, the facility will not be exclusive, with the governing body saying that “the wider cycling community, cycling-related education programmes and equipment development and research teams can access the tunnel”.
Halfords’ chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “We’re delighted to have found a new home for this facility. We’re also pleased that the wind tunnel will continue to be made available to the public as well as providing the Great Britain Cycling Team with an invaluable world-class resource.”
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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