IZU, Japan: British Cycling has rejected claims that the radical design of its Lotus Hope track bike being used by its riders at the Tokyo Olympics was copied from a Dutch brand.
The carbon bike, unveiled at the end of 2019 but being ridden in competition for the first time in Tokyo, features widely-spaced forks and seat stays and no head tube, which developers say reduce drag caused by riders' legs.
However, in an interview with Cycling Weekly the co-founder of Dutch firm Ku Cycle, Alex Bok, said it first patented the design in 2016 after he and fellow co-founder Richard McAinsh, a former F1 engineer, came up with the design for its TF1 model.
Recalling the moment that they saw the British bike for the first time, Bok said: "Richard is a very gentle, friendly, smart British engineer who doesn't get upset too easily.
"He was sitting next to me in the office and he nearly choked. His head was getting all red. He said this is ridiculous. This is exactly my idea and it's been stolen."
British Cycling strongly refute the claim.
"The design for this bike has been in the public eye for almost two years. We are confident that it does not infringe any patents and we are happy to deal with any challenges through the appropriate processes," a spokesman said.
Bok said he would like a proper conversation with British Cycling over who owned the patent.
"Ultimately what we would like to do is to see if we can get into a sensible, professional conversation with British Cycling and say, maybe you don't have to apply for a patent, you just need to recognise where the technology comes from," he said.
"If you want to use it let's sit down and talk."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)