FORMER Halesowen rider Ben Healy secured a stage win in the prestigious Tour of L’Avenir.

The race is an unofficial Tour de France for under-23 riders taking in many of the same climbs over 10 days of racing.

Despite being one of the youngest in the race at just 18 years of age, Stourbridge’s Healy followed in the footsteps of many of cycling’s greats by winning the fifth stage of the event that ran from August 15 to August 25.

Healy, a former pupil at Summerhill School in Kingswinford now rides for Le Col Wiggins and competed in France for the UCI’s World Cycling Centre composite team.

The race started in the Haute Loire in mixed weather, cool yet humid, and at times drowned in mist at the cruising altitude often located around 1,200 meters on the Aubrac plateau and the wild heights of the Massif Central.

The breakaway of the day saw Healy and initially three other riders escape from the peloton with still 110km to the finish.

However it was Healy who was the most inspired – and the strongest – by distancing his last two companions, the Dane Morten Hulgaard and the American Matteo Jorgenson, four kilometres from the goal to take victory by two seconds.

The stunning achievement in such a prestigious race can serve as a springboard into the professional ranks.

Former Mountain biker Healy became the first British rider to win the Junior Tour of the Basque Country in 2017.