HALESOWEN Cycling Club’s academy has expanded to 12 riders for the 2019 season.

Main sponsor Wenlock Spring mineral water have also renewed along with previous backers OTE, ProVision and Epic Cycles to back the young prospects in the academy's fifth campaign.

The former Great Britain road manager and JLT-Condor head honcho John Herety takes on the role of patron to the West Midlands young rider development project, which will include five first-year juniors.

Among the quintet is the Great Britain cyclocross team member Simon Wyllie, who rode the world championships in Copenhagen last month.

“This is the youngest team we’ve ever had,” said the Halesowen cycling supremo Dave Viner. “It’s also the largest the academy has been, and someone of John Herety’s record and status agreeing to help us out is a vote of confidence in what we have done here in the last four years and what we are trying to do. We have an excellent youth development system based on the track at Halesowen and the academy is providing a top tier to that.”

“Having John agree to help us is a massive plus," said team manager William Fotheringham. "He’s basically there as a mentor if required, without us wanting to take up too much of his time, so he came to our training weekend recently, and was able to hand out some really good advice. Part of the weekend was a session at the velodrome, and he was invaluable when it came to supporting the coach who was leading that.”

The team has seen two of the 2018 line move-up to teams which are just below UCI level, with Cameron Biddle moving up to Morvelo-Basso and Matt Clarke joining Wheelbase, which also includes another former member in Jack Stanton-Warren.

New for 2019 is a women’s arm to the team, which includes GB apprentice Kinga Ingram and promising first-year senior Hannah Lancaster.

Halesowen Academy-Wenlock Spring team is made up of Nick Clayton, Jonathan Cull, Josh Field, Patrick Fotheringham, David Hird, Kinga Ingram, Hannah Lancaster, Oscar Laight, Henry Lloyd-Langston, James Pheysey, Lorna Sharples and Simon Wyllie.