Team GB's brilliant but broken bikes mean riders will be on old frames at World Championships

Matt Slater
Success | British riders such as Jason Kenny (centre) enjoyed much success at Rio 2016: AFP/Getty Images

British Cycling has admitted all of the bikes its track riders used in Rio have broken - meaning the team will be on old frames at the World Championships next month, though they denied it is a concern.

The £10,000, carbon-fibre machines used to such effect at the 2016 Games were designed in partnership with Cervelo, after the Canadian firm became the Great Britain cycling team's supplier in 2015.

The five-year deal, which means Cervelo pays British Cycling to provide the team with bikes, was set up with the aim of developing the fastest track bike ever made for Tokyo 2020.

The governing body claims the partnership made such rapid progress it was able to get a 'Mk I' of the T5GB bike to every British rider who wanted one in Rio, where the team won 10 Olympic medals, including six golds from the 10 events on the track programme.

But while these British-made bikes were fast, they were also brittle, and, as the Daily Mail reported on Friday, they caused lots of nervous moments for the mechanics as powerful riders such as Ed Clancy and Jason Kenny repeatedly broke them.

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.

These UKSI bikes were refined for 2008 and 2012, and are still quick, but the Daily Mail believes some of the bikes going to the world championships will be 13 years old, which is hardly in keeping with British Cycling's reputation for cutting-edge innovation or what Cervelo signed up to as an equipment supplier.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, British Cycling said its "ground-breaking" partnership with Cervelo 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 Cervelo.

"British Cycling and Cervelo 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."

The "equipment protocols" point is a reference to British Cycling's policy of using old kit for most of the four-year Olympic cycle so they arrive at a Games with equipment that is a significant improvement and the other teams have not seen before.

But Press Association Sport understands that if Mk I T5GB bikes were available, British riders would be using them in Hong Kong, as the Mk II is already in the pipeline for Tokyo.

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