Halfords to donate million pound wind tunnel facility to British Cycling

Halfords has donated a million-pound cycling wind tunnel to the Great Britain Cycling Team in a bid to support cycling at all levels across Great Britain.

The wind tunnel was drawn up by Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman MBE, and will be located at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance on Etihad Campus in East Manchester, next to the National Cycling Centre.

The new facility is set to be operational by the end of 2021 and will provide crucial support for British athletes preparing for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the first ever combined UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023 and the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic games. It will also support the wider cycling community with cycling-related education, equipment development and research.

The tunnel features a data capture system which feeds video imagery and information back to the rider in real-time. Additionally, aerodynamicists can continually tune wind speed and direction to mimic the conditions of any event or environment.

Data from the Boardman Performance Centre during the past two years will also be handed over to British Cycling. Furthermore, Halfords will continue to be associated with the facility, utilising it for product research and development and customer events.

Graham Stapleton, CEO of Halfords, said: “We’re delighted to have found a new home for this facility. We’re also pleased that the wind tunnel will continue to be made available to the public as well as providing the Great Britain Cycling Team with an invaluable world class resource.”

Stephen Park OBE, British Cycling performance director, said: “The primary focus of the Great Britain Cycling Team is to support talented riders to achieve their best and continue to deliver world-leading performances.

“Having this facility in Manchester, the home of British Cycling, means that, thanks to Halfords, we will be able to continue to develop our understanding of bicycle aerodynamics, the related performance impact and therefore provide an even better service to riders who represent this country with pride.  It will be a fantastic addition to the Elite training facilities available to British riders while providing even better value for the investment we receive from the National Lottery via UK Sport.”

Charles Johnston, Sport England Property Director, said: “This wind tunnel facility is an exciting opportunity for both athletes and amateur cyclists looking to perfect their performance skills. Bringing this innovative and technologically advanced facility online is a triumph of the collaborative work between British Cycling, UK Sport, English Institute of Sport and Sport England, we are proud to have supported this project via our Elite Training Centre investment programme.”

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods at Manchester City Council, said: “East Manchester and the Etihad Campus continues to advance as a world-leading sporting centre of excellence, with the new wind-tunnel facility at the MIHP a significant boost to the sports, research and science offer.

“The Manchester Institute of Health and Performance brings together leaders from elite sports, grassroots community sport, and world-class healthcare to deliver cutting edge care and facilities for everyone from elite athletes to the community. We’re delighted that British Cycling athletes will be operating within the MIHP ecosystem, along with welcoming a full range of users to advance all levels of cycling across the nation.”