Mark Cavendish, winner of the 2009 Milan-San Remo one-day classic, will use his new machine in Saturday’s race. Photograph: Steve Cooper/McLaren
Almost two decades after the Lotus grand prix team created the revolutionary bike that Chris Boardman rode to an Olympic gold medal in the 4,000 metres individual pursuit in Barcelona in 1992, McLaren‘s Formula One engineers have helped design the machine with whichMark Cavendish will attempt to repeat his historic 2009 victory in the Milan-San Remo race on Saturday.
While Cavendish was making his final preparations for the one-day classic, his new bike was being unveiled in the unusual environment of the McLaren technical centre to the west of London, where the cars of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are built.
McLaren’s experts in carbon-fibre technology have spent the past nine months collaborating with Specialized, the US company that supplies bikes to Cavendish’s HTC-Highroad team, on the design. The S-Works McLaren Venge is intended to be lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamically efficient than its rivals.
Cavendish and his team-mates Mark Renshaw and Bernie Eisel will ride the new matt-black machines, whose frames are manufactured in Specialized’s factory at a secret location in China.
McLaren’s technicians worked with their counterparts from Specialized’s California headquarters, using computerised fluid dynamics and finite element analysis to create a bike whose frame weighs 930 grammes and is expected to shed even more weight with further development. “We can optimise a bike to levels that have never been achieved before,” Duncan Bradley, the design director of McLaren Applied Technologies, claimed.
Cavendish was consulted during the design process, and pronounced himself delighted with the results after an unpublicised test ride in December. Should the Manxman need to change the battery for the electric gear-change mechanism, he will find a spare neatly hidden away inside the seat tube.