A talk at Cambridge University Engineering Department on 30 June at 1900 hrs.
Tony Purnell, former Head of Technology at British Cycling, will talk about how engineering helped Great Britain top the cycling medal table at the Tokyo Olympics.
Professor Tony Purnell FREng, FRSA was the Head of Technical Development at British Cycling, where he worked across all aspects of technology – from improving data analysis to assisting the coaches with the development of organisational software and tools to optimise rider performance. Tony Purnell is Visiting Professor at Cambridge University Engineering Department, and a Fellow-Commoner in Engineering at Trinity Hall Cambridge. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Manchester University and a masters the MIT Sloan School of Management. His dissertation was on Formula One aerodynamics. He founded Pi Research, was principal of the Jaguar and Red Bull Formula One teams and a technical consultant to the FIA and IndyCar Series.
The Team GB track bicycle for the Tokyo 2020 caused a stir on its announcement. It's wide forks and unusual titanium-carbon frame were a radical departure from convention. With the onset of the pandemic and delay to the Olympics, it would take another eighteen months for the world to see the results.
Among other accomplishments in a prolific career, Tony Purnell was Technical Director of British Cycling and responsible for the design of the 2020 bike. In this talk he will share some of the revolutionary features and technical challenges that enabled the team's success. Reflecting on the development of this bike and some other innovations he has been responsible for, Tony will ask the question ‘Can innovation be forced?