Australian Institute of Sport turns to SAS Commando Training to Select Future Cycling Gold Medallists

Special Air Service RegimentThe Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has turned to the brutal selection processes of the SAS and special forces commandos to inspire the next generation of women cyclists to gold medals.

Sports scientist David Martin designed the program after briefings on secret army techniques for picking and nurturing their best and brightest.

“They were very good at sharing how, over the last 100 years in the case of the SAS, they’ve been developing and refining how they pick not just aptitudes but character,” he said.

The AIS process is based on the same principles — 20 riders show up, with 12 sent home at the halfway mark, and those that win get to represent Australia in Europe.

As soon as riders arrived at the camp, their names were replaced by a number and the mind games began.

20070718adf8262658_063.JPG“Starting now I’ll be referred to as coach, you’ll be referred to by the numbers you are wearing,” head coach Martin Barras told the cyclists at the beginning of camp.

“You will wear those numbers at all times — on the bike, off the bike, whenever we are assembled.”

The cyclists were also told they would be given no feedback throughout the camp.

The aim was to make them uncomfortable and to always be performing at their peak.

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