PATRICK Fotheringham gained Halesowen Cycling Club the yellow jersey in the Newry three-day tour in Northern Ireland with a spectacular sprint win on Friday's opening stage.

The 21-year-old, who rides for Halesowen A+CC's academy, won a mass bunch finish at the end of the 43 miles with local rider Cathal Clarke three bike lengths behind.

That put Fotheringham in the yellow race leader's jersey, a result which had seemed out of a question a few hours earlier when the Halesowen club's ferry to Ireland had been cancelled.

The move to a later ferry meant that Fotheringham and his team-mates Henry Lloyd-Langston and David Hird only arrived within a few minutes of Friday's stage.

On the second stage over 76 hilly miles near the Mourne Mountains, Fotheringham's defence of the yellow jersey was only brief as a burst tyre, slow wheel change and subsequent mechanical problems forced him out of the race after only a few miles.

As this was happening, his team-mate Hird was in the stage-long breakaway that decided the overall standings, finishing 16th on the stage and setting up his 19th place overall after Sunday's 70-mile stage.

Elsewhere, the Halesowen Cycling Club's academy, sponsored by Wenlock Spring mineral water, achieved some strong placings, with under-16 Kinga Ingram finishing second on both Saturday and Sunday's stages of the National circuit series at Minehead, while Hannah Lancaster snatched sixth place in the Central League road race in Wiltshire on her return after four weeks off to sit A-levels.