Published: Friday, August 10th, 2018

Golden Jubilee research could give elite cyclists a helping hand to gold medals


Pictured is Lead Orthopaedic Surgeon Jason Roberts, who is also a multi gold medal-winning cyclist, testing the equipment in the Motion Analysis Lab

Elite cyclists could soon be riding to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank to see if they can gain a competitive edge in the race for gold medals.

Ahead of the men’s road race final at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, researchers at the hospital’s Motion Analysis Laboratory are in the set-up phase of a study which could give racers a helping hand onto the winner’s podium.

When it gets on the road, the Golden Jubilee team’s research could determine if the length of bicycle cranks is pivotal in cyclists’ search for glory.

Using advanced 3D technology with infrared digital cameras, cyclists will ride on a static bike while sensors on their body pick up their real time movements.

The same technology is used to produce computer generated imagery clips in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

Participants in the study will see a real time computer generated version of their own body going through rigorous exercise – showing specific pressure points on the joints, ankles and hips. 

Dr David Griffiths, a Clinical Research Fellow at the Golden Jubilee, said: “We will be looking at varying crank length in terms of the power that a cyclist can produce for 20 minutes in an aero dynamic time-trial position.

“There’s some anecdotal evidence to suggest that a shorter crank might allow you to put out more power over a given time period in a time-trial position.

“We’re going to get cyclists going flat out for 20 minutes with one length of crank and do the same test a few days later with either a shorter or longer crank to see what impact that has on their power output.”

Lead Orthopaedic Surgeon Jason Roberts, who is also a multi gold medal-winning cyclist, explains: “This research is cutting edge and we believe it is the first of its kind.

 “The test will allow us to capture really interesting information about angles and how the crank length could affect your position on a bike as well as your power output.

“We’d also be delighted to hear from cyclists who may want to get involved in the study."
Medical Director Mike Higgins commented: “This is another great way in which the Golden Jubilee Foundation is leading quality, research and innovation.

“The research our team is embarking on is truly exciting and we’re looking forward to seeing the results.

“Our Motion Analysis Lab is currently being used for exciting research studies that will benefit orthopaedic patients across Scotland.

“We are also looking at branching into the area of sports performance and analysis and would be interested in collaborating with innovative partners in this field.”

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