Sky join forces with Formula One's McLaren

Team Sky has enlisted the support and expertise of McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) to provide technical support for its riders in the lead up to the squad's debut season.

Members of the new British ProTour squad last week spent time at the MAT wind tunnel facility in Woking in South-west England to fine-tune their positions on the bike and develop the team's racing kit for 2010.

Part of the McLaren group, MAT provides the electronic technology for British-based Formula One motor racing team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

Kurt-Astle Arvesen was one of the riders to undergo testing at the MAT wind tunnel, which was part of Sky's first team meeting in England this week. Arvesen told Norwegian website Nettavisen that although cyclists have become familiar with the high-tech approach, the experience at Sky was a level above his previous experience.

"The entire programme around this team is very well adapted. I've certainly never encountered anything like it before," he said. "We've still got to pedal the bikes, but I think this will be cycling with very different conditions than anyone else has had before.

"Most teams test their equipment in the wind tunnel, but this is an upgrade compared to our competitors," said Arvesen.

Team Sky's association with the McLaren group has come off the back of agreement signed between the MAT and UK Sport in August. The partnership was formed in order to maximise the technological advantages available to British athletes in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic games.

MAT is also working with Sky to develop the team's racing kit for next season. The technology used is likely to be similar to the skinsuits developed for the all-conquering British track team at last year's Beijing Olympic and Paralympic games. The specially designed suits were reportedly destroyed after the games so as to protect the secrets of the technology used.

While Sky has leaned on the motorsport expertise of MAT, it was not the only sporting cross-over for the ProTour cycling team this week. Yesterday, the entire Sky squad were VIP guests at English Premier League football team Manchester City's home game against Hull city. Manchester City's home ground is located close to the base of British Cycling, Manchester Velodrome. The game ended in a one-all draw.

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