HALESOWEN Cycling Club have expanded their road team to eight riders for the 2018 season.

Henry Lloyd-Langston has come through the Halesowen development system as a first-year junior and joins 16-year-old Daniel Morris and a strong under-23 in James Phaysey.

They join Matt Clarke, Patrick Fotheringham, Nick Clayton, Tom Swingler and Jo Hobbs to complete and exciting team.

The team will be without Jack Stanton-Warren, however, after his move to Wheelbase as he looks to further his ambitions on the national stage.

Stanton-Warren along with Matt Clarke helped Halesowen continue to make strides at regional and national level last year.

At the West Midlands championship in August, over a tough course at Stiperstones, the team placed two riders in the top 10, a feat only matched by the professionals from the Metaltek team.

Stanton-Warren, 22, progressed strongly in his fourth year of racing. He attained his elite level licence, the highest category in UK racing by June 2017, after a string of placings in the UK’s hardest road races. Along the way he won two National B races, finished eighth overall at the Tour of the North International three-day stage race in Northern Ireland and raced successfully in Belgium. He also competed strongly in the National Road Race championships in the Isle of Man against professionals preparing to ride the Tour de France.

Clarke returned successfully from a knee injury and managed two wins. One was the National B Severn Valley RR, while he also finished second by a tyre’s-width in the prestigious Worcester Trophy - and ended the season a narrow second in the West Midlands Road Race League, all despite a late beginning to his season.

Patrick Fotheringham raced strongly at the Newry 3-Day in Northern Ireland and performed well on an initial outing to race in Belgium, while Nick Clayton, Tom Swingler, Jo Hobbs and Isobel Whiteley all progressed during the season.

Meanwhile, the club have announced renewed backing from bottled water company Wenlock Spring for their race team in 2018.

It will be the third year in which Wenlock Spring have supported the Halesowen A&CC development programme.

Club chairman Dave Viner hailed the move, saying: “This sponsorship is an impressive statement of Wenlock Spring’s belief in what we are doing at our cycling club. The results we have enjoyed in recent years, the riders we have sent up the development chain - and the renewed backing from our sponsors says a lot about the standard of our young rider development and the efforts that we and our team of volunteers make to run events locally.

"We have a long and proud history of developing talented young cyclists, both male and female, as they further their educations at school, and Wenlock Spring’s support is helping us to further that goal.”

Wenlock Spring’s sponsorship for 2018 is joined by Stoke’s ProVision clothing company and nutrition specialist OTE Sports, both of whom have backed the Halesowen team since its inception in 2015. Also sponsoring this year are Ludlow Cycle Shop, ‘Epic Cycles’.