Cyclists take secret of suits to shredder

Victorious Olympians destroy their outfits to ensure rivals cannot steal the technology for 2012

The aerodynamic "skin suits" worn by Britain's cycling heroes at the Beijing Olympics have been destroyed to stop rival teams getting their hands on the technology behind them.

The decision was taken to ensure that information about the suits remained top secret, meaning that none of the cyclists, who won eight of Team GB's 19 gold medals at the Olympics, could keep them as souvenirs. Such attention to detail has helped make Britain's cycle squad the envy of the world.

British Cycling's performance director, David Brailsford, said: "Our skin suits were sent out to Japan to be assembled, so that the person who put them together there did not know where they were from and there was no link. The suits themselves were created by British Cycling, and Adidas put the labels on. We then got them back and they have been shredded because we believe that the technology will hold well for 2012."

Mr Brailsford admits that shredding the suits was one of the team's less barmy ideas. They also mulled over a plan to pre-empt one of the most common injuries in cycling – a broken collar bone – by deliberately breaking the collarbones of one of their top riders.

Mr Brailsford said: "Ed Clancy [who won gold in the Olympic team pursuit] said he would not mind having his two collar bones broken.

"But then, thankfully, someone said, 'What on earth are you doing?' and the madness stopped."

A special BMX track, near the Manchester Velodrome, was built for medal hopeful Shanaze Reade to practise on.

But Mr Brailsford recalled: "When it was left at night all the local kids were there with their boards and using it. It was a challenge to keep them off it."

Many of Britain's Beijing Olympic champions, including Sir Chris Hoy, Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny, Ed Clancy and Victoria Pendleton, will be back in the saddle for the final round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Copenhagen from 13 to 15 February.

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