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Military Precision Helps British Cyclists in Competition

Military Precision Helps British Cyclists in Competition
Military precision lasers normally used to identify friend or foe on the battlefield have played a key role in the British Cycling Team’s success in international competition in recent years.

We have helped the British Cycling Team to find increased levels of speed, strength and endurance by installing a sophisticated performance monitoring system at the Manchester Velodrome, the base of the British Team’s training.

The laser timing technology derived from a battlefield identification system offered an entirely new approach to performance monitoring in cycling, improving on a previous break-beam system which was unable to differentiate between individual cyclists racing around the track at the same time.

Track Cycling laser tag The new system allows up to 30 riders to race each other simultaneously while coaches track each individual cyclist’s second-by-second performance in real time. The laser works by reading a personalized code from a retro reflective tag attached to each bike, which can capture individual timings with millisecond accuracy.

The system is one of several developments coming out of our £1.5 million Technology Partnership with UK Sport, which sees high-tech defence technology and thinking applied to the areas of sports development where it is needed the most.

Dave Brailsford, Performance Director at British Cycling said: “This technology was a major step forward in training for us and helped to provide more accurate data to hone our performance ahead of the Olympics. Cycling is a sport that relies a lot on technology. The bikes are part of it, but the day-to-day training is just as technical, and it is therefore important that it can be analysed and measured objectively.”

Kelvin Davies, BAE Systems Project Leader of the UK Sport Technology Partnership said: “The new performance system demonstrates the essential role of engineering in helping our athletes to achieve those fractional improvements, which are often key to sporting success and we are very proud to have had the opportunity to harness our skills to support British athletes.”

Dr Scott Drawer, Head of Research and Innovation for UK Sport, said: “It is fantastic to be able to tap into BAE Systems’ expertise in innovation to support us in delivering bespoke performance solutions to our athletes. This particular project is a fantastic example of how knowledge and experience from the defence and security sector can be applied to elite sport to help to give our athletes an edge in their preparation and training.”

Track Cycling Since 2008, we have helped around 20 elite sports teams and 140 individual athletes and their coaches, including the taekwondo, track cycling, skeleton bobsled, sailing, short track speed skating, athletics, canoeing (slalom and sprint), badminton, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair racing, swimming, modern pentathlon and shooting teams.

We continue to provide expertise in structural and mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, mathematical modelling and simulation and materials science to some of Britain’s major medal winning sports.

About the Technology Partnership
BAE Systems and UK Sport have formed a technology relationship worth £1.5 million in kind to support British athletes in preparing for sporting success at the Olympics, Paralympics, World and European Championships. The relationship gives the British sporting world access to leading-edge technologies as well as considerable engineering knowledge and expertise. The two organisations have worked together since 2007.

About UK Sport
UK Sport is the nation’s high-performance sports agency. Its mission is to work in partnership to lead sport in the UK to world class success. Primarily this means working with our partner sporting organisations to deliver medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. UK Sport is funded by a mix of Government Exchequer and Lottery income, as well as private investment through Team 2012. More @
UK Sport’s Research and Innovation team, led by Dr Scott Drawer, strategically invests £1.5millon per year in collaborative projects to enhance the performance of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The team work with Innovation Partners in industry and academia who provide world class expertise to help make Britain’s athletes among the best prepared and most feared on the start line.

For more information, please contact:
Luke McClelland, Mischief PR
T: 020 3128 6550 | M: 07850 508 957

Kate Watcham, BAE Systems
Tel: +44(0)1252 383550 Mob: +44(0) 7793 420731

Issued by:
BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739

Ref: 106/2012