A TEAM of riders from Halesowen Athletics and Cycling Club are set to take on the Junior Tour of Wales.

Road team cyclists Charles Walker, Sam Dighton and Patrick Fotheringham, all aged 16, together with guest rider Elliott Reynolds, 18, are all ready to take part in the three day, five stage race taking place in South Wales this weekend.

The competition, covering around 172 hilly miles, is billed as one of the toughest junior stage races in the world and will include the finest 100 junior riders from around the UK.

Previous competitors include some of the top professional riders in the world, including Dan Martin, David Millar, Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish.

The contest will give the young Halesowen riders the chance to show their potential.

The five stages are made up of a time trial of 4.5 miles, a road 45 mile road race with a three miles long climb to the finish, a circuit race based at Bryn Bach Park, a flat road race of 47 miles and a road race of 59 miles finishing up the famous Tumble climb situated near to Abergavenny.

Halesowen Cycling Club is confident all four riders have trained hard over the past months and will be up to the challenge.

Charles Walker, from Pedmore, who has just placed second overall in the South Staffs/Shropshire Cycle Clubs Road Race League and has performed well in national junior events, said: "My best ride this season was the final stage of the Ras De Cymru when I gained 10 places on General Classification (GC) that day. I would like to achieve a decent placing overall in the tour."

Patrick Fotheringham has achieved top placings in Midland races and is aiming to do well on the fourth stage.

Sam Dighton rode to 26th place in the National Junior Road Race Championships before he was forced to retire. He is aiming to do well on the hilly stages.

Elliott Reynolds, who rode to a fine sixth place in the Tom Simpson RR, said: "I hope to place high on GC, do a good ride in the circuit race and to take the experience of a three day stage race."

This will be the 33rd edition of the Junior Tour of Wales. The best performance by a Halesowen rider to date being 10th by Matt Clarke in 2011.

Progress of the team can be followed via halesowencycling.net

Coach Dave Viner said: "One of our aims will be to do well in the team classification. We have three first year juniors and the competition will be really strong but we would like to finish as high as possible.

"The boys have trained really hard and all deserve to do well."

The team have been handed a boost ahead of the contest with Trust Skoda stepping in to provide a team car for the tour.