Dan Bigham training with Ineos Grenadiers as he looks to add F1 expertise

Dan Bigham in action for Great Britain
Dan Bigham in action for Great Britain at the 2021 World Championships (Image credit: Getty Images)

Dan Bigham has expanded on his new role at Ineos Grenadiers, explaining that he is seeking inspiration from Formula 1 and acting as a bridge between the team's scientific specialists and the riders. 

Bigham, 30, has so far juggled his own career as a road and track racer with work as as an aerodynamics specialist, stemming from his academic background in engineering.

Last year, he worked as a consultant to the likes of Jumbo-Visma and the Danish federation at the Olympic Games, as well as racing for Ribble-Weldtite, representing Great Britain at the Road World Championships, and breaking Bradley Wiggins' British Hour Record.

After being approached by Ineos Grenadiers, he began working for the British team this winter as a performance engineer.

"It’s a huge opportunity," Bigham said. "My role is effectively to apply all of the team’s collective knowledge and science of aerodynamics and equipment to athletes, acting as the conduit in the middle. 

"I can speak in rider terminology because I race a bike, but I can also speak in aerodynamic and engineering terminology and can be the person to bridge the two, as well as work to answer the questions that we currently don’t have answers to. That could be anything from position optimisation, helmets, clothing, tyre selection, tyre pressure choice, pacing strategies to gearing choices. We’re trying to better connect both sides."

Bigham started out studying motorsport engineering at university and initially toyed with a career in F1 before leaning towards cycling, setting up the Wattshop component company. He is hoping to bring in expertise from that domain into his work with Ineos Grenadiers, which is part of a wider Ineos-sponsored sports project that also covers the Mercedes F1 team. 

"The team were already starting to learn how F1 did things and it made them realise there were a few potential gaps around the race engineering, the application of knowledge, and also gearing that towards the athlete - explaining to them why they should do things," Bigham said. 

"There will be lots of different areas that open up as we go. Time trialling will lead the way and that’s a bit of a no brainer as there’s always work to be done there, but hopefully we can bring that same mentality and approach across to road racing as well, and look at how we can optimise each of the riders and the roles that they do - so it’s not just ‘you’re riding these wheels, handlebars, helmets, skinsuits’ across the entire team but it can be unique and tailored for their role, course, and each day."

Although he's devoting himself to his new role, Bigham will not relinquish his own riding ambitions. According to the team, he will still compete in time trials and will also have another crack at the Hour Record this year after his non-UCI-official attempt last autumn.

It's an added reason why he's been spotted amongst Ineos riders on training rides at recent team camps in Mallorca.  

"Historically I’ve had to juggle my cycling with my work. To consolidate everything into one role so I’m not doing my own testing and then having to do the same thing for everyone else is one big advantage of coming on board. Everything that I’m developing for riders and the team is the same for me, so there is a benefit in both directions," Bigham said. 

"Whenever I’m on camps, I can train with the squad and everyone on the team wants that because it means I can also be the test rider and drive the development that helps the squad. It all works in harmony. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be supported to ride my bike within the team because instead of having two separate streams, pulling and pushing against each other, it meant we were all aligned and going in the same direction.

"At one point I was riding up a climb with [Filippo] Ganna, Tao [Geoghegan Hart], [Richard] Carapaz, [Egan] Bernal and [Adam] Yates, it was quite a surreal moment. It’s an epic team to be involved in."

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