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Olympic champion Anna Kiesenhofer has a new bike... with part of her PhD thesis etched on the frame

The maths doctorate and shock Toyko Olympic road race gold medallist has two of her favourite equations on the brand new Factor Ostro VAM

Last month, the Austrian mathematician who defeated the world's best to claim a road race Olympic gold for the ages said that she would avoid joining a WorldTour team for the foreseeable to "have my own sponsors" and set up my own team"; and it looks like one of those sponsors might be UK bike brand Factor, with Kiesenhofer this morning teasing a custom-painted Ostro VAM bike complete with the topic of her PhD thesis inscribed on the frame. 

Unfortunately we haven't been treated to the full bike yet, but pictures on Kiesenhofer's Instagram page clearly show the Ostro VAM logo in three places, plus a Shimano Dura-Ace disc brake caliper. We can then assume that it's a full top-of-the-range model (unlike the mix-and-match components she ran on the Scott Addict she rode to Olympic glory) and the gold detailing is of course a nod to her success in Tokyo. 

> Review: Factor Ostro VAM frameset

If you're not up on your maths (this lowly cycling journalist certainly isn't) then you might not fully understand Kiesenhofer's explanation of why she's chosen to add the two equations to her bike; but even so, here's what she said about why they are important to her: 

"The first equation is the normal form of a b-symplectic structure on a 2n-dimensional manifold. The second equation is the half-wave maps equation, which played an important role in my research as a post-doc at EPFL, Switzerland, during the last four years. When I wasn’t thinking about my training for Tokyo, this is what occupied my thoughts.

"I chose to put these two equations on my bike, not because they are of tremendous importance in mathematics in general, but because they reflect the main topics that my personal research was focused on. I didn’t want to just put some random fancy equations on my bike, I wanted to tell my story." 

Anna Kiesenhofer factor ostro vam - screenshot via Anna Kiesenhofer on instagram
Screenshot via Anna Kiesenhofer on Instagram

Telling her story is something the previously quite elusive Kiesenhofer has started to do over six months on from a victory described as one of the greatest in Olympic history, saying she deserved the win because it "came as a result of a lot of work" on Eurosport's Cycling Show. 

On her YouTube channel (with just 44 followers and one video upload) Kiesenhofer also quietly dropped an excerpt from a speech made at the Vienna Congress 2022, at which she was the recipient of the Special Golden Arrow Award. 

Titled 'About small goals and big goals', she said: "My Olympic gold medal made me famous, but I do not want it to be a remote fairly tail of a super-talented high achiever that normal people cannot relate to. 

"I am not a super-talented high achiever I'm a normal person, and this Olympic gold medal stands for all the small successes I had in the past, before the win that made me famous. 

"And it should stand for all the other small successes that other people have, for all the sacrifices that go unnoticed."

Wise words indeed - what next for Kiesenhofer's burgeoning independent 'team'? Without a pro team behind her she'll be limited to events that allow her to race in national colours, which means the European Championships in August and the Worlds in September. Looking further ahead, no doubt Kiesenhofer will be targeting a big race in Paris two summers from now... 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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Rendel Harris | 2 years ago

The maths doctorate and shock Toyko Olympic road race gold medallist

Just to be picky, she holds a maths doctorate, that's the qualification she has obtained, but her title is Doctor of Mathematics, calling her a maths doctorate is like calling someone lower down the academic scale a maths degree instead of a maths graduate.

Christopher TR1 | 2 years ago
1 like

I can relate to winning Olympic gold (I have an imagination), but she's totally lost me with those extracts from a Greek menu!

lesterama | 2 years ago
1 like

It's been many years since I looked at partial differential equations and I don't fancy looking again now

nosferatu1001 replied to lesterama | 2 years ago

I could understand the terms mostly, but the thought of actually solving...yuck! 

mark1a replied to nosferatu1001 | 2 years ago


chrisonabike replied to mark1a | 2 years ago

Where's your proof?  I'm only seeing anti-calculus speech here.

mark1a replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago

Define calculus. 

mdavidford replied to mark1a | 2 years ago
mark1a wrote:

Define calculus. 

An absent-minded, hard-of-hearing scientist and engineer.

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