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Archer International Grand Prix - 1.5

Buckinghamshire, UK, March 30, 2003

2002 Results    Results    Past winners

O'Loughlin continues storming form

By Gerry McManus

The podium
Photo: © Gerry McManus
Click for larger image

David O'Loughlin (Ofoto - Lombardi) out-sprinted John Tanner (Life Repair RT) and Chris Newton (Corima) to win the 2003 Archer GP, continuing a run of storming form that has seen him collect several victories in Ireland recently. The 24-year-old from County Mayo took the first win for Ireland in the event since double Olympian Phil Cassidy won in 1988.

Mark Lovatt (Life Repair RT) had begun the sunny morning in aggressive style by attacking on the very first lap. The bunch were keeping the talented rider within reach and his one minute lead with temporary companion Jeffrey Capper (Sigma Sport) closed down to thirty seconds as the peleton stirred on the first ascent out of the village of Great Missenden.

Capper fell back on the climb but Jarron Poad (Team Down Under) and Karl Verreudt (Team Hand in Hand) moved up. The trio established a lead of 30 seconds over Tom Southam (Great Britain) who had slipped the net and had 30 seconds advantage on the main field. After the best part of a ten-mile chase, he successfully made the junction and thus the first serious break of the day had been formed. With Southam immediately making a contribution to the workload, the lead grew to 1'28".

Suddenly the alarm bells had rung for the bunch after about three hours of racing and seven riders crossed the divide to the leaders. Lovatt was in no mood to see his lead slip and attacked again and this time only Poad was able to hold on to his wheel. Danny Axford (Parrot Print RT), Kevin Dawson (Life Repair RT), Lee Vertongen (Endurasport), George Richardson (CycleOps Kona RT) and Russell Anderson (GB) quickly organised a chase as they approached Amersham and the small finishing circuit and duly achieved their objective.

After 90-miles the lead group had swelled to twelve now including Tanner, O'Loughlin and ex-professional Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello-Assos RT). Ten miles later it was Tanner's turn to put on the pressure on the long main road drag up to Woodrow taking O'Loughlin and Elliott along for a minor spell of freedom before being reeled in by four others including Newton and Lovatt. Southam's race ended when the news of lack of training following a crash a week earlier finally reached his legs and the promising youngster retired.

With the whole race now in overdrive approaching 100 miles of racing, the bunch was blown to pieces and lagging behind at three minutes.

Back on the frontline Tanner accelerated again to form the racing winning break with Newton and O'Loughlin and they set about building a time gap that tired legs couldn't breach. Lovatt patrolled the bunch from the front and there were no takers when he swung over to relinquish that role.

First Tanner attacked on the Penn St climb and then Newton hit the gas pedal on the final climb of Woodrow but to no avail. The cat and mouse games started with three miles to go but Newton couldn't shake off his lead out position, holding on to second place but a euphoric O'Loughlin came by to win by a bike length.

Just behind these three Elliott showed he could still sprint a little at least, slipping past the untiring Lovatt who had obviously timed his ride not to bring dangerman Elliott too close to Tanner.

O'Loughlin was delighted with his first UCI ranked event win. "I have raced against Lovatt and Tanner before in the Milk Rás and a couple of times in the Tour of the Peak so I knew what to expect. It was a long race so I spent the first half just trying to stay out of trouble and let the race develop. So when we hit the finishing circuit I just tried to get in the groups. When Tanner attacked the group was too big and wasn't really working properly. When we came towards the end I was in the perfect position behind Newton and Tanner. I had seen it was uphill finish and chose a slightly smaller gear and timed it just right."

Tanner explained his race tactics. "It was about three and a half laps to go when I attacked on the main road drag. I was more worried about Newton in the sprint really. I knew that I was likely to be the slowest finisher of the three of us so I tried to get away but you would have to be going extremely well to get away from those two."

O'Loughlin now looks on target for a place in the Irish road team for the 'B' world championships in Switzerland in July, where he hopes to realise his ambition of a place in the Olympic road race in Athens.


Images by Gerry McManus

Results, 118 miles

1 David O'Loughlin (Ire) Ofoto-Lombardi Sports    4.45.20 (24.8 mph)
2 Chris Newton (GBr) Corima RT/Rudy Project/Assos
3 John Tanner (GBr) Life Repair RT
4 Malcom Elliott (GBr) Pinarello Assos RT            0.27
5 Mark Lovatt (GBr) Life Repair                      0.28
6 Huw Pritchard (GBr) Wales/AngliaSport              0.48
7 Kevin Dawson (GBr) Life Repair RT
8 George Richardson (GBr) CycleOps Lona RT
9 Matthew Stephens (GBr) Sigma Sport
10 Dan Loyd (GBr) Team                    0.49
11 Gethin Butler (GBr) Preston Wheelers
12 Roger Morgan (GBr) Parrot Print/TAL               0.51
13 Lee Vertongen (NZl) Team               1.26
14 Tom Barras (Aus) Team Down Under                  2.18
15 Russell Anderson (GBr) Great Britain              2.19
16 Paul Crook (GBr) AngliaSport/Condor               2.20
17 Gary Dodd (GBr) Sigma Sport
18 Graham Briggs (GBr) Life Repair
19 Colin Roshier (GBr) Team Quest/The Bike Shop      2.21
20 Julian Winn (GBr) Team Fakta                      2.24 
21 James Flanagan (GBr) Team Milton Keynes
22 Adam Illingworth (GBr) Team Milton Keynes
23 John Ibbotson (GBr) Team               2.25
24 Kristian House (GBr) Great Britain
25 David Worthington (GBr)
26 Matthew Sewell (GBr) Southport CC
27 Mike Harrison (GBr) Tunstall Wh/Brian Rouke       2.36
28 Mark Perry (GBr) Maestro/Fircroft
29 Jonathon Van Elst (Bel) Hand in Hand-Baal
30 Chris Young (GBr) Marie Curie/JD Cycles
31 Grant Bayton (GBr) AngliaSport/Condor
32 Daniel Axford (GBr) Parrot Print/TAL
33 Gavin Poupart (GBr) Parrot Print/TAL
34 Andrew Young (GBr) Python RT/Laxea
35 Paul Shepard (GBr) Wales
36 Richard Wilkinson (GBr) Angliasport/Condor
37 Jamie Norfolk (GBr) Wales
38 Andy Lyons (GBr) Parrot Print/TAL
39 Cameron Jennings (Aus) Team Down Under
40 Neil Coleman (GBr) Team
41 Robin Coot (Bel) BRC Kennemerland
42 Ben Greenwood (GBr) Life Repair
43 James Taylor (GBr) City Of Edinburgh
44 Phil Thaux (Aus) Team Down Under
45 Ruud Pronk (Bel) BRC Kennemerland
46 John Charlesworth (GBr) South Yorkshire Police
47 Jeff Capper (GBr) Sigma Sport
48 Paul Dring (GBr) Parrot Print/TAL
49 Paul Manning (GBr) Great Britain
50 Michael Hutchinson (GBr) Cycling Time Trials
51 Steve Cummings (GBr) Great Britain
52 Gary Baker (GBr) AngliaSport/Condor
53 Keiran Page (GBr) SP Systems

Past winners

2002 (2) Gordon McCauley (NZl)
2001 Gordon McCauley (NZl)
2000 Roger Hammond (GBr)
1999 Chris Walker (GBr)
1998 Jonathan Clay (GBr)
1996 Gary Baker / Elite (GBr)
1995 Chris Newton / Elite (GBr)
1994 Paul Curran / Elite (GBr)
1993 David Williams (GBr)
1992 Peter Longbottom / Elite (GBr)
1991 (2) Steve Farell / Amateur (GBr)
1988 Phil Cassidy (Ire)
1987 Steve Farrell / Amateur (GBr)
1986 Wayne Randle (GBr)
Past winners by Mario Stiehl,