The Great Britain Cycling Team officially opened its new state-of-the-art wind tunnel in Manchester this afternoon, which will support the team’s riders on the path to Paris and cyclists at all levels.
The tunnel fan and control units have been re-located to Manchester thanks to Halfords generously donating them for just £1. With the support of UK Sport and Manchester City Council, the tunnel has been rebuilt and upgraded to support riders as they push towards Paris 2024 and LA 2028.
Originally conceived by Chris Boardman and based at the Boardman Performance Centre in Evesham, the tunnel uses a finely tuned data capture system which feeds video imagery and information back to the rider in real-time. Aerodynamicists can continually tune wind speed and direction to mimic the conditions of any event or environment.
The facility will be based at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance on the Etihad Campus in East Manchester, adjacent to the National Cycling Centre, and opens as the Great Britain Cycling Team’s track riders return to Manchester after spending the majority of 2022 training in Derby.
In addition to unearthing new performance gains for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games, British Cycling are already looking at how research teams will be able to benefit from access to the tunnel through cycling education programmes, equipment development and events.
The facility was officially opened on Thursday afternoon, with attendees including Chris Boardman, Ed Clancy, and Halfords’ Paul Tomlinson.
Great Britain Cycling Team Performance Director, Stephen Park CBE 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.
“It’s always great working with our Etihad Campus neighbours at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance, which brings together leaders from elite sports, grassroots community sports, and world-class healthcare to deliver cutting-edge care and facilities for everyone, from elite athletes to the local community. Being able to house the wind tunnel at this facility offers huge benefits to our riders and programme as a whole.
“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 is 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.”
Paul Tomlinson, Halfords Cycling Director, said: “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 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 pedaling.”
Dr Kate Baker, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: “Adding the wind tunnel to the performance facilities available to the Great Britain Cycling Team marks a significant step forward for the Olympic and Paralympic World Class Programmes. The ability for riders to refine their on-bike positions in the tunnel and take these straight onto the track, road and course will add further to the world leading performance support GBCT is renowned for.
“We are excited to see how the team builds on their success in Tokyo and at the recent World Championships in Paris, where the team proved they remain at the forefront of the sport worldwide.”
Cllr John Hacking, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure said: “Manchester is the home of British Cycling and we have a long history of being involved in and facilitating cycling events. After hosting the finale of the Tour of Britian in 2019 and, the Tour series earlier this year, we are thrilled that the wind tunnel is opening in the city.
“We are proud to support cycling in and around the city, from the recent opening of Wythenshawe Cycle Hub to the new wind tunnel, there are great facilities for cyclists of all abilities in Manchester.”