Aussies hope new bike will carry them to Olympic gold

BT Blade track bike launched in Melbourne

A new bicycle, designed with aerospace expertise, will give Australian cyclists the edge at this year's Beijing Olympics, team organisers said in Melbourne on Thursday.

The BT Blade will be ridden by Australia's track endurance cyclists in events including the individual and team pursuit, while sprint cyclists will use the BT Stealth variation, Cycling Australia said at the unveiling.

Coach Martin Barras said the research and development of the bicycle would ensure Australia's cyclists line up with the most technologically advanced bikes at the Olympics in August.

"In events where the result can be decided by a thousandth of a second our team goes into every race confident they are riding the very best bike which gives then a psychological edge over their rivals," Barras said in a statement.

Sal Sansonetti, a former Olympian and director of the company that developed the bike, said a huge amount of design, testing and experience went into new bicycle.

"We looked at each element of the frame and modelled the stresses and loads applied to it," Sansonetti said in the statement. "We then chose the best combination of carbon fibre grades and fibre orientation for each individual element. It's the same basic approach used in the aerospace industry."

The bicycles were tested in wind tunnels so to develop optimal aerodynamic carbon frame shapes, Sansonetti said.

"Based on feedback from the Australian Institute of Sport and the Australian cycling team the BT Blade continued to be refined until this final version which weighs just 6.8kg (15lb) complete.

"The result is a frame free of compromise and full of performance providing the Australian team with the ultimate advantage," Sansonetti said.

© AFP 2008

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