Military precision keeps British cyclists on track for success

Written by: J Cunningham | Published:

BAE Systems has installed a sophisticated performance monitoring system at the Manchester Velodrome to give British cyclists a further edge in training.

The laser-timing technology, derived from a battle space identification system, represents an entirely new approach to monitoring performance in cycling, improving on previous break-beam systems which are unable to differentiate between individual athletes.

The system is the latest development to stem from BAE Systems' £1.5 million value-in-kind technology partnership with UK Sport aimed at helping British athletes in their quest for medals at World and European Championships as well as future Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Up to 30 cyclists will be able to train simultaneously with the new timing system, which uses a laser able to read a personalised code from a retro reflective tag attached to each bike. Installed at multiple points around the track, the system gives individual recordings for each cyclist with millisecond accuracy.

Head of research and innovation at UK Sport, the strategic body for high performance sport, Dr Scott Drawer 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, which will ultimately help them strive for future success.

"This particular project is a fantastic example of how knowledge and experience from outside the sporting world can be applied effectively to give our athletes an edge in their preparation and training."

A five year technology partnership between BAE Systems and UK Sport was launched in January 2008 to provide state-of-the-art technological support to British sports with access to the technical knowledge and expertise of BAE Systems' UK-based engineers.

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