Great Britain cycling team wind tunnel opens in Manchester

New state-of-the-art facility in Manchester will support the team’s riders on the path to Paris and cyclists at all levels

Ed Clancy in the wind tunnel
(Image credit: British Cycling)

The Great Britain cycling team officially opened its new state-of-the-art wind tunnel in Manchester yesterday with the aim of supporting the team’s riders on the path to the Paris Olympics and Paralympics. 

Originally conceived by Chris Boardman and based at the Boardman performance centre in Evesham, Worcestershire, the tunnel uses a finely tuned data capture system which feeds video imagery and information back to the rider in real-time. 

Aerodynamicists can also then continually tune wind speed and direction to mimic any event or environment that an athlete may be competing in. 

The tunnel fan and control units have been taken to Manchester thanks to Halfords donating them to British Cycling for just £1.

The new facility is based at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance on the Etihad Campus in East Manchester, adjacent to the National Cycling Centre. 

Chris Boardman, Ed Clancy and Halford's Paul Tomlinson were present for the new wind tunnel's official unveiling, which coincided with Great Britain’s track riders returning to Manchester after spending the majority of the current year training at an alternative base in Derby while maintenance work to the building was conducted. 

British Cycling performance director Stephen Park said: “Having a state-of-the-art wind tunnel in Manchester, the home of British Cycling, means that we are able to deliver our primary focus of supporting talented riders to achieve their best and continue to deliver world-leading performances, such as those we saw at last week’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships. 

“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.”

Paul Tomlinson, Halfords cycling director added: “As the UK’s biggest cycling retailer, we’re delighted to be able to help as many people as possible, from beginners to athletes, to improve their performance, health, and overall understanding of bicycle aerodynamics. 

"So, it is of course our pleasure to have donated to British Cycling this state-of-the-art wind tunnel that will hopefully train individuals for generations to come.

“We hope that the tunnel continues to support talented British cyclists to deliver world-leading performances, as well as helping the nation keep pedalling.”

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