Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Few sports test the limits of

  • professional athletes like cycling.

  • [Cycling Commentator] It's a furious threat.

  • But it's not just human endurance

  • on the track that delivers the winning formula,

  • it's human ingenuity off it.

  • It's the world's fastest bike.

  • In an elite sport,

  • the difference between success and failure

  • is often the finest of margins.

  • This is base camp for one of

  • the most successful teams in global sport.

  • Great Britain's track cyclists have topped

  • the medals tables at the past three Olympic games.

  • And it's a team that keeps churning out winners.

  • We wanna be the fastest in the world,

  • we don't just wanna win the Olympics,

  • we wanna win in the fastest time ever.

  • In a sport where races

  • are decided by as little as 1/1000th of a second,

  • Emily and her teammates are obsessed with one thing:

  • marginal gains.

  • A little margin of half a percent

  • will make that difference on the day.

  • [Cycling Commentator] Turning the pressure on.

  • And one of the best places

  • to find those tiny margins is on the bike.

  • The team's key man for this is an aerodynamics expert

  • and ex-Formula One motor racing engineer.

  • My job is simply to use technology and engineering

  • in any way I can to make the team go faster.

  • Cambridge University Professor of Engineering,

  • Tony Purnell, designed the world-renowned

  • T5GB bike with manufacturerrvelo.

  • By dramatically reducing air resistance,

  • it helped the British team enjoy

  • its most successful Olympics ever.

  • It's the world's fastest bike.

  • The way those layers of carbon fiber are constructed

  • all makes for a lighter and a stiffer bike,

  • without compromising the aerodynamics.

  • All important milliseconds

  • were shaved off performance times

  • by making the tiniest of design changes,

  • even down to the chain.

  • When you cycle, a little bit of the power you produce

  • gets lost in friction in the chain.

  • If you can reduce that loss, it translates

  • into the athlete being that little bit more powerful.

  • Using that chain would have made the difference

  • in the games between the silver and the gold medal.

  • It's not just the bike

  • where aerodynamic perfection is relentlessly pursued,

  • it's also the person on it.

  • The precise position of the rider

  • can make all the difference.

  • [Cycling Commentator] Always ahead of schedule,

  • he was 45 seconds up after 40 kilometers.

  • In 1996, Olympic Gold medalist

  • Chris Boardman broke the one hour world record.

  • [Cycling Commentator] As Boardman

  • settles into the superman position, arms stretched

  • in front of his head, for smoother aerodynamics.

  • By pioneering his legendary superman position.

  • Today, this legacy lives on at the state-of-the-art

  • Boardman Performance Center, in Evesham, England.

  • Bike design can absolutely help,

  • but we see that the most significant portion

  • of the aerodynamic effects and the drag

  • is coming from the rider themself.

  • Sit down, tell me a little bit more about

  • the direction we want to take, what do we want to look at.

  • Today, Jamie is helping

  • professional cyclist Dan Bigham decipher

  • his optimum body posture for an upcoming team pursuit race.

  • In the wind tunnel, Dan is battling winds

  • of over 60km/h to simulate the drag conditions

  • he'll face on the track.

  • His performance, and ultimately success,

  • could depend on a series of almost imperceptible

  • tweaks to his position on the bike.

  • Okay Dan, let's go for our first change,

  • we'll do this on the fly.

  • Let's move the hands, please.

  • By moving his hands slightly forward,

  • and adjusting the gap between them by just millimeters,

  • Dan speeds up by nearly half a second per kilometer.

  • We're operating at a world record place here.

  • So we've found some gains there,

  • particularly from the hand open position,

  • which is absolutely worth having.

  • Come race day, subtle changes like this

  • could add up to a big advantage for Dan's team.

  • Me personally, I'm about 4/10ths quicker just for my turn,

  • and if that gain was for everybody in the team,

  • then we're one and a half to two seconds quicker overall.

  • Cycling's reputation

  • has been damaged by doping.

  • But its pursuit of legitimate marginal gains

  • still sets the pace for many other disciplines.

  • Britain's world-beating cyclists

  • face ever more intense competition from rivals

  • who are quickly learning how to innovate.

  • The pursuit of marginal gains

  • is about to get even more marginal.

Few sports test the limits of

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US cycling commentator marginal dan fastest position

Cycling's speed secrets | The Economist

  • 6 2
    joey joey posted on 2021/05/18
Video vocabulary