The Great Britain men’s road race team will line up on the Mall this Saturday not on the Pinarellos and Cervelos they’ve been riding all season, but on plain black UK Sports Institute bikes.
The five-man team that consists of Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, David Millar and Ian Stannard will ride road-going versions of the GB track bikes, designed with aerodynamics in mind.
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Built by carbon expert and former sprinter Dimitris Katsanis, a version of these bikes was first used on the track back in 2002. They have been developed ever since, especially in the build up to the Beijing Olympics when Chris Boardman spent hundreds of man-hours in a wind tunnel in Southampton testing everything that could be tested.
The bike is stiff enough to harness the power of Sir Chris Hoy, yet aerodynamic with a low profile (see the low top tube) and minimal frontal area (see the narrow head tube and minimalistic forks).
The British team is going in to the race with the sole aim of delivering Mark Cavendish for the sprint and will also wear aero gear. They will ride the filled-in helmets that we’ve seen all season and likely some version of a skinsuit, rather than shorts and jersey.
The men’s road race starts at 10am on The Mall on Saturday morning and will finish around 4pm.
Wiggins knows this bike well having ridden a version of it on the track to multiple medals
The ‘winged’ bars flow in to the stem. See how narrow the headtube is in comparison
UCI approved. Post Beijing the UCI said all bikes at the 2012 Olympics would adhere to their rules
The aim of an aerodynamic bike is to have minimal frontal area
The view Wiggins will have, whenever he glances down
Clean lines. The aim is to have as little as possible to disrupt airflow, even towards the rear
The narrow gauge forks designed to slice through the wind
A bottom bracket area stiff enough to harness the power of Sir Chris Hoy. That should be stiff then
Neat cabling to minimise disruption of airflow