Team GB’s incredible haul of gold medals at last summer's Beijing Olympics can't be attributed to just one element of the team’s preparation, but was instead the result of lots of small changes that, together, added up to a substantial advantage over their rivals.

The riders, at their peak of physical and mental fitness, were a key component, no doubt. But the technological war waged behind closed doors was a large part of their astounding success. Chris Boardman, brought in as British Cycling's technical director, was given the task of improving the team's advantage on the technological side. The results of his efforts are clearly visible from looking at the bikes.

A smaller, less visible but no less important part of the teams speed was attributable to the riders clothing. Special skin suits designed to reduce air drag were developed, but in an effort to keep the details secret, British Cycling has shredded them, reports the BBC.

"We got them back and they were shredded as we believe the technology will hold well for 2012," said David Brailsford.

Which does seem a shame to us, but we'll have to wait until 2012 to see what they have up their sleeves. Now, if only we could have got our hands on one skinsuit before they went to the big shredder. [You'd be up for a 19 minute 10? - ed.]