It’s not about the bike

Unless you’re chief nut-nibbler in Team GB’s Secret Squirrel Club and you’re trying to psyche the competition with tales of hi-tech kit.

Just as with Chris Boardman’s 1992 win on the Lotus superbike, journalists like to talk up the tech aspects of Britain’s success on the track. The fact that we have the best-trained, best-fed and best-tested athletes mustn’t get in the way of a good, ‘it woz the kit wot won it’ story. No doubt this is part of British Cycling’s teamplan: if the opposition think they can only come in second because the Brits have the best bikes, then that’s what will happen.

Take, for instance, today’s puff piece in the Sunday Telegraph. There’s now no chance for other countries to produce copycat kit so British Cycling is drip-feeding the media with tech tidbits. Today it’s the “revolutionary” skinsuit, tomorrow it will be British’s Cycling’s brand-new aero-amazing bar-tape.

Pity the poor sports journalist. After being bombarded with tech-specs there’s bound to be the odd mistake.

“The new equipment, which the team hopes will carry the likes of Mark Cavendish, Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins to the medals podium, also includes individually-moulded shoes, [and] a crank that measures each rider’s heart rate,” revealed the Telegraph’s Patrick Sawyer.

Cough a few hundred quid in a high-end Shimano outlet and you too can have “individually-moulded shoes.” Not too sure about a HRM crank: Sawyer probably means a power-measuring crank, but again that’s not exactly top-secret or available only to Britain’s elite riders.

But since when has psychological warfare needed to be accurate?