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Team GB to race on old bikes after all Cervélo Rio models break

Frame was too brittle for GB's most demanding sprinters...

The state-of-the-art Cervélo T5GB track bikes that were developed for Team GB for the Rio Olympics are all broken, leaving the Great Britain cycling team on old models at the world championships next month.

British Cycling has admitted that the £10,000, carbon-fibre frames, designed in partnership with Cervélo, are not available for use.

Problems apparently centre around the brittleness of the frames not standing up to the strength of some of Team GB’s sprinters.

It’s the opposite problem to the one engineers had in development, when the frames lacked stiffness to deal with the huge power the sprinters produce, resulting in flexing frames during all-out efforts.

It was touch and go whether the updated model would be ready in time for the Rio Olympics at all.

We reported last year how Sir Bradley Wiggins complained that the original carbon extension handlebars were too flexy, while Jason Kenny has found the frame flexing during his 2,000-watt efforts during a spring.

Cervélo worked on an updated version of the T5GB bike that will be stiffer and has a lighter paint job. It is signed up as the equipment supplier to Team GB until 2020.

It is now understood there are no working Mk I T5GB bikes left and the team heading to next month's track world championships in Hong Kong will be riding a combination of an older Cervelo
model and the bikes first developed by the UK Sport Institute for the 2004 Olympics.

In a statement, British Cycling said its "ground-breaking" partnership with Cervélo was always directed at a "world-leading" track bike for the British team at the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

"Due to the unprecedented speed and quality of the work involved by staff on both sides of the partnership, the T5GB bike was developed and manufactured ahead of schedule, making it possible for many riders to compete on this model in Rio," the statement continued.

"The results of the track cycling team speak for themselves and British Cycling was and still is delighted with the bike's performance, which was made possible by the outstanding contribution of Cervélo.

"British Cycling and Cervélo are continuing to work together to ensure our riders are once again given the best possible bike, along with the best possible chance of success in Tokyo.

"Whilst this process is ongoing - and as is usual practice at this stage of our performance programme - we will for the upcoming 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships be applying the same equipment protocols as were in place for the 2016 Track World Championships in London."

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