Archer GP turns 50

The 50th anniversary of the Archer International Grand Prix will be run on Sunday, April 3 in the Chiltern Hills in Great Britain. The 187 km race will see a field of 100 riders from Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Ireland taking part, lining up in Hazlemere at 11:00am to race three large circuits via (nr) Gt Missenden, Longdown hill, Cadsden, the steep Whiteleaf hill, Lacey Green, Naphill, and Hughendon Valley. The race then returns for seven laps of a circuit via Winchmore Hill, the A404 to Penn Wood, Penn Bottom and Penn Street to finish at Winchmore Hill Common at approximately 3.30pm.

At the head of the field and leading the Welsh national squad is last year's winner and past national champion Julian Winn, perhaps regarded as one of the 'establishment' in riding terms. But in the young Great Britain team are such as Mark Cavendish and Mark Brammier, recently returned for successfully racing in Australia, while Russell Downing, who leads the professional team, recently won the Cape Argus race in South Africa. Last year, Russell won the Havant International GP, also one of the three UCI one day races in the UK.

In the DFL professional team, Yanto Barker came sixth in Paris-Troyes three weeks ago, while Duncan Urquhart (Viner Bikes/Agisko) recently won a race in Italy. But near veteran stars such as John Tanner (Planet X), a past winner of the Archer event and second last year, will be hard to beat, as will his team mates Mark Lovatt and Kevin Dawson. Then there is 43 year old Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello RT), a past winner of the points jersey in the Vuelta a España, and last year won the Premier Series in his second year of comeback after a long break from competition.

Local hopes will rest on Paul Crook of High Wycombe, riding for the sponsored Angliasport/Condor team, and Simon Henley from Princes Risborough, riding for Team Milton Keynes/Corley Cycles.

Clashing with the World Track Championships in Los Angeles, the British endurance squad Olympic medallists from Athens and Sydney will be missing, but all of them, including multi-medallist Bradley Wiggins, have ridden this race, as did Chris Boardman, gold medallist in the Barcelona Olympics, before them. So Sunday's event may well see the emergence of Britain's future stars, as virtually all previous winners in its 50 years have gone onto world, Olympic, Commonwealth or professional honours.

The Archer International is both a Premier event and part of the UCI's European Tour, with international ranking points to be gained by the top eight riders.

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