The Australian team pursuit handlebar, which snapped during the men's qualification round, was supplied by Bastion and has since been removed from its website, Cycling Weekly understands.
Australian track rider Alexander Porter crashed after the handlebar snapped. The team was able to restart, under the 'recognised mishap' rule.
The rule entitles a team or rider to one restart if they suffer a legitimate fall, a puncture or the breakage of an essential part of the bicycle.
Cycling Weekly understands that the handlebar used came from Australian manufacturer, Bastion - which specialises in 'Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)', with 'decades of experience in both the Automotive and Bicycle industries'.
When we checked the website, Bastion's Base Bar page gave us a 404 error notice. Our source says that the base bar was removed following the crash at the Izu velodrome in Tokyo.
A cached page from July 29 states: "These bars are designed to fit the Argon 18 Electron Pro Track Bike. They replace the OEM Base Bar and allow more reach and knee clearance for out of the saddle efforts. A Spacer Stack is also available in various configurations."
The handlebar on the cached page, and in images sent to us by our source, appears to mirror that used on the Australian Argon 18 Electron Pro team pursuit bikes.
In 2019 Bastion created custom 3D-printed bike parts for the Olympic team, according to 3D Printing Media. The parts list included stems, Madison handlebars and cranksets.
The pursuit base bar features an integrated stem, with four bolt holes on the top. Images captured following the crash show a top cap covering this area, but the shearing appears to have taken place where these two holes might be.
Bastion brought metal 3D printing in-house when it purchased a Renishaw AM250 3D printer, according to the brand's website, the machine is running Grade 5 Ti6Al4V Titanium Alloy.
Australia was able to begin a second attempt at the team pursuit effort, clocking a time of 3:48.448, to take fifth behind Great Britain and leaving the squad able to compete for a bronze medal at best. The fastest time went to Denmark, in 3:45.014 - a new Olympic record which looks set to tumble further in the finals.
Cycling Weekly has reached out to Bastion for a comment, and will update this story if this is provided.
On Monday evening, Argon 18 released a statement; VP of Product Martin Faubert said: "Like all of you, we were devastated to see the Australian rider crash in the men’s team pursuit. We are greatly relieved that no one was seriously injured and applaud the team’s quick return to the track to complete the race.
"A full equipment review is in progress by the Australian Cycling Team and we will have more details shortly, but at this time we can confirm it was not an Argon 18 handlebar which experienced this failure.
"While Argon 18 has designed a handlebar for the bike, and provided that handlebar to the team, it was not our bar in use during this incident. We unfortunately are unable to provide further detail on the manufacturer of the equipment nor why this particular bar was swapped out for the race. We remain committed to our partnership with the team and wish them the best of luck as they continue to compete at the highest level."
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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