"This years Archer Grand Prix promises to be one of the most competitive ever," says race organiser Stuart Cook of the classic 115-mile cycle road race to be held for the 52nd year on Sunday, 15 April. "Every major team in the UK has entered so it is likely to be very tactical with team attacking team, while a few star individuals have also been accepted such as Rob Hayles, Scot Gamble, Alex Dowsett, Mark Wordsworth and BC private members, Dave Clarke and Martin Ford. The race also sees the return this year of riders such as the Downing brothers, Dean and Russell riding for different teams."
One favourite for the race is likely to be New Zealander Gordon McCauley riding for the Plowman Craven/Evans team, which also sponsors the hill climbing competition for the leaders at the top of Whiteleaf and Longdown hills. He has just returned to the UK having won the Archer International GP in both 2000 and 2001. But John Tanner, also a double winner in 1997 and 2005, leads a very strong Sportscover/Planet X team which also features hard man Wayne Randle, while Malcolm Elliott, second last year in Plowman Craven colours, this time leads an equally strong Pinarello team which also features his ex-ANC partner Adrian Timmis.
Local hopes will rest on Karl and Martin Freeman from Thame, riding for the Team Corley Cycles, plus Steve Golla from the High Wycombe CC, their original club. A strong team presence from leading South East team, www.agiskoviner.com, is also included in the race and is headed by Joel Stewart.
The race starts at Hazlemere at 11am and covers five laps of a 15 miles circuit via Hughenden Valley, Butlers Cross, Longdown, the fearsome Whiteleaf (or Monks) hill, and Lacey Green back to Hughenden Valley.
The race then returns to cover just over five laps of a five-mile circuit via Winchmore Hill, Penn Wood, Penn Street and back to Winchmore Hill where it finishes on the village green at the 6th arrival.
Full details of the race, including the list of riders, can be found on the promoter's Web site (www.archergrandprix.com).
See also: 2006 Archer International GP results