Lifestyle & Belief

British cyclists have a secret weapon: electric hot pants


Victoria Pendleton and her fellow British track cyclists hope heated pants will help them gain precious seconds in their London races.


Bryn Lennon

Britain's track cycling team will stop at nothing to do the home crowd proud – including donning artificial bottom warmers.

Team GB has developed a "revolutionary" pair of pants that generate their own heat, the Fairfax news agency reported.

The idea is to keep athletes' thigh and butt muscles at optimum temperature – around 38 degrees Celsius – right up until they take to the track. The bulky, full-length pants are designed with a quick-release zip, allowing wearers to whip them off at the last moment.

A team of scientists, cyclists and Adidas designers have spent four years perfecting the pants, according to Metro, though Britain is so sure the technology will give its cyclists the edge that it kept it under wraps right until the start of the London Games. 

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Team GB's defending Olympic champion, Victoria Pendleton, gave the pants a glowing review. 

"They heat up almost instantaneously, they're just amazing," she said. "You really feel the temperature on your quads and hamstrings and it really makes a difference."

She and her team mates hope the pants are just one more measure that can win them "marginal gains" – the precious fractions of a second that can make the difference between first and second place.

Those gains will be erased, however, if other teams' bums aree equally warm. Unfortunately for the Brits, according to The Age, Australian scientists have been working on their own "Project Hot Pants," the fruits of which will be unveiled at the London velodrome.