Former Team Sky rider Josh Edmondson will have a free role and chance to prove himself to prospective team managers at the Herald Sun Tour, which began in Melbourne, Australia today.
The 22-year-old is racing with the Great Britain squad, under the direction of national U23 Academy manager Keith Lambert, on the back a of two-week training camp with the team in the small Central Highlands town of Harcourt.
Sky released Edmondson at the end of his two-year neo-professional contract last season with coach Rod Ellingworth reportedly critical of his work ethic.
“It was good most of the time but then certain things weren’t quite right for me. It was just a bit of a clash,” Edmondson told Cycling Weekly before the start of today’s 2.1km prologue, that Will Clarke (Drapac) won in two minutes and 35.53 seconds.
“They’re very, very organised, like, Rod is the most organised guy in the world. He’s really good at his job and I’m just useless most of the time. I’d be off in my own little world and it just didn’t really work.”
That being said, Edmondson has no intention of leaving the sport and over the winter spent some three weeks training in Calpe, Spain with Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.
Lambert said the young British talent has been training well with the GB squad that includes Olympic Academy riders Gabriel Cullaigh, Chris Lawless, Jake Kelly, Scott Davies and Academy mountain biker Grant Ferguson in Australia.
British youngster Josh Edmondson handed a lifeline at the Herald Sun Tour
“I think it’s a shame when you’re 22 years old and cast aside but it’s difficult for me to comment because I don’t know what’s gone on [at Sky],” Lambert said.
“If he’s not good enough, he’s not good enough and that’s their decision but I think from what I know of him, and I’ve known him since he was a lad, because he lives near me, I think he’s got a lot to offer.
“He really does need to buckle down and get on with it,” Lambert continued. “It’s a professional sport he is in and if he’s not been doing as he should have been that’s the reason they’ve got rid of him, so maybe that’s the kick up the backside he needed.
“He’s still here, he’s still eager to do well and he’s got a lifeline to do something and show someone else he’s worth taking on.”
The Herald Sun Tour serves as a learning curve for the young Great Britain squad competing. Edmondson will have the opportunity to race for himself, which may serve as renewed motivation as he continues the search for a new team.
“He’s been working hard for the team at Sky, he’s not had many opportunities for himself and you lose that little side of how to race as well,” Lambert added. “Hopefully coming here he hasn’t got that pressure of having to look after others. It’s down to him now, he can just get out and race, do his best, and see how it works out.”
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Sophie Smith is an Australian journalist, television reporter and presenter, who has provided coverage for Cycling Weekly from races across the world. She has covered eight Tours de France, as well as reporting for national and international newspapers as well as other magazines.
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