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In a conventional inverse Cherenkov accelerator (ICA), the background neutral gas provides the necessary dispersion to maintain the synchronism between the drive laser and the accelerated electrons. A laser-driven ICA is susceptible to diffraction, and the acceleration length is limited to approximately a Rayleigh range (for a Gaussian beam). In this paper, an ICA configuration is proposed that avoids the laser diffraction limitation by employing a preformed plasma channel. It is shown that a radially polarized laser beam can be optically guided if the plasma density increases with radius-like r/sup 2/. Expressions for the guided axial and radial components of the laser field are derived, and a numerical example is discussed.