Research for Olympic Games caters to cyclists’ performance

Tomorrow’s Olympic gold medals can be won with the help of physics. To show that science is the ally of athletes and their performance, the French Cycling Federation invited the press on January 31 to reveal the secrets of its cyclists during the training of the cycling team.France women on the track in the center of the velodrome In Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and in the middle of the adjacent wind tunnel of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (Saint-Cyr-l’Ecole).

The results presented are the result of various collaborations between the federation and research laboratories, mainly financed by the third future investment program of 20 million euros between 2019 and 2024, supporting eleven projects and a dozen sports federations (rowing, boxing, swimming). , rugby, sailing etc.).

“Things have matured, are being used or will be used”Emmanuel Brunet, the federation’s research and performance manager, warns. “The aim is to seek perfection. “We don’t know whether science will always be successful, but we do know that successful teams around the world are doing scientific research.”complete Christophe ClanetHe is director of research at CNRS and head of one of the programs.

Chain, tires, clothing…

So to gain a few seconds here, a few watts of power there, even a few centimeters, every detail counts. From lubricant applied to the chain to limit friction and improve performance, to tires that should rub as little as possible but not burst too quickly. Right down to the fabric chosen for track cyclists or road trials. After wind tunnel testing, it was concluded that the best recipe was to use a different material for the arms or thighs in order to limit the resistance into which the runner can devote 90% of his strength at high speed.

Another innovation made it possible to bombard trainers with information: A box, originally from Phyling, is quickly inserted into the crank of the crankset to measure power in real time during training or racing. And this happened two hundred times per second, compared to once or twice in previous models. Enough to be able to distinguish the pushing or pulling power of the legs. This information depends on the athletes’ pedaling frequency, speed, fatigue, etc. It feeds biomechanists, physiologists or physicists to determine the ability to produce a particular force depending on the

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