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Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

All-star crew beat GB Olympians

By Martin Gough
BBC Sport at the River Thames

Tideway Scullers Crew
The Tideway crew with Alan Campbell (far left) and Olaf Tufte (far right)

Olympic singles champion Olaf Tufte joined an international all-star crew to beat a GB line-up with five Beijing medals in the Head of the River Race.

The all-stars, racing for the Tideway Scullers club, beat Leander Club by almost four seconds in 17 minutes, 25.21 seconds in Saturday's time trial.

GB's Alan Campbell was one of five Beijing finalists in Tufte's crew.

"We'll enjoy the win and when we see each other again we'll be competing against each other," said Campbell.

Three of the Great Britain eight, which won silver in Beijing, featured in the Leander line-up alongside Peter Reed from the Olympic champion coxless four.

Leander, the defending champions, set off first, while Tideway Scullers started fifth and had crews to work off down the 4.25-mile course on the River Thames, where the Boat Race will be held next Sunday.

We'd like to do it again but if we did it every year it would take the edge off

Alan Campbell

"We had a reasonable row but the big difference was that Leander were in a vacuum," coach Mark Banks told BBC Sport.

"Over 17 minutes that's going to make a difference."

The race - the highlight of the winter season - attracted 409 crews from internationals to those in their first year in the sport.

In fourth place, 29 seconds behind the winners, was a Molesey Boat Club crew featuring two other members of the GB four, Andy Hodge and Tom James, who is taking a year away from the national squad.

Most of the Tideway Scullers all-star line-up flew into London on Monday for a week of training in the run-up to the race.

They had a split decision against the Cambridge Boat Race crew on Wednesday, losing one race but winning the second.

"We had limited time together but we managed to pull it off," Campbell told BBC Sport.

"We'd like to do it again but if we did it every year it would take the edge off, and it took three years to pull this project together."


"It's been a massive eye-opener and I've got more and more respect for the others.

"But I don't think I'll be the most popular person when I turn up for training with the GB squad on Monday morning."

Banks' crew had 15 sessions together before the race but he believes they would have finished 10 seconds behind the British eight he coached in Beijing.

"As good as the athletes are, they wouldn't be able to compare with a crew that was together for months," he said.

The Great Britain squad take part in further selection trials next month ahead of the first of three World Cup regattas this season, starting in Banyoles, near Barcelona, on 29 May.


1. Tideway Scullers' School - 17 min 25.21 sec

Tim Maeyens (Bel, fourth in 2008 Olympic singles final), Andre Vonarburg (Swi, ninth overall in Beijing), Alan Campbell (GB, fifth in Beijing final), Marcel Hacker (Ger, bronze at Sydney 2000, seventh in Beijing), Mahe Drysdale (NZ, Olympic bronze in 2008, three times world champion), Olaf Tufte (Nor, Olympic champion 2004 and 2008), Ondrej Synek (Cze, silver in Beijing), Iztok Cop (Slo, gold in double scull in Sydney, silver in 2004), Cox: Alison Williams

2.Leander Club - 17 min 29.10 sec

Alex Partridge (silver in GB eight in Beijing), Marcus Bateman, Matthew Langridge (GB eight), Richard Egington (GB eight), Peter Reed (gold in GB four), Stephen Rowbotham (bronze in GB double), Tom Broadway, Tom Burton, Cox: Phelan Hill

see also
Tufte takes second Olympic gold
16 Aug 08 |  Rowing
Campbell fifth in Olympic final
16 Aug 08 |  Beijing 2008
Campbell and Magee win in Beijing
09 Aug 08 |  Beijing 2008
Canada take eights gold from GB
17 Aug 08 |  Rowing
Olympians picked in Oxford crew
04 Mar 09 |  Other sport...

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