A TEAM from Halesowen Academy completed their longest and most arduous event in fine shape on Sunday.

All six riders completed the Junior Tour of Ireland, one of the toughest stage races in the world for under 18s. Competing against teams from the USA, Holland and the Irish regions in a field of 142 riders, Josh Field rode consistently throughout the 560-kilometre event in the west of Ireland to take 24th place, with team mates Simon Wyllie, David Hird, Oscar Laight, Henry Lloyd-Langston and Jonathan Cull also getting through in fine style.

The club will now look to encourage the next generation of cyclists with their annual open day on Saturday, July 20.

Held at the club’s outdoor velodrome on Manor Way, the fun day starts at noon and finishes around 4pm.

The programme is dedicated to the under-14s with children as young as five given the opportunity to ride and race on the track away from traffic.

Trained by British Cycling, local coaches are on hand for guidance and encouragement and are happy to assist with any cycling related questions.

The club has been amazingly successful both locally and nationally holding several races throughout the year (a 24 hour track race with teams of four is planned for the August Bank holiday) and also welcoming all types of social riding. Further details can be found on the club’s website.

Elsewhere, former Halesowen rider Ben Healy travels to Italy for a week long under-23 stage race. Starting with a 2.5km prologue the programme quickly moves to the mountains of Northern Italy and Switzerland for what will be a testing parcours as Ben steps up from junior level to under-23s in what should prove invaluable experience for this hard working and promising rider.