Who is the man at the centre of the latest Team Sky controversy?
Josh Edmondson is at the centre of the latest controversy to hit Team Sky, with the former Sky rider saying that he injected vitamins and used Tramadol during his time at the team. But who is Josh Edmondson, and has he actually done anything wrong?
Who is Josh Edmondson?
Having come through British Cycling’s Olympic Development programme, Edmondson enjoyed a breakthrough 2012 season, riding well in the Giro delle Valle d’Aosta – a tough under-23 stage race won by Fabio Aru – before gaining wider recognition with an attacking ride at the Tour of Britain, where he finished 15th overall aged just 20.
Edmondson had been on Team Sky’s radar before that point, but his Tour of Britain ride earned him a spot on the British WorldTour team for 2013, where he was the youngest rider in the squad.
And for much of the 2013 season the young Brit looked to have a bright future, producing a strong ride in his first stage race at the Volta ao Algarve, where he finish seventh on a tough finish in support of Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran. He then completed the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Suisse, earning a spot in the British World Championship squad to cap off an impressive first season in the pro ranks.
But in 2014, the last year of his two-year contract with Sky, Edmondson seemed to struggle. Whereas the previous year he proved to be a valuable domestique, in 2014 Edmondson had less of a high profile, finishing in the gruppetto in multiple mountain stages at the Volta a Catalunya, Tour of the Basque Country, and Tour of California.
Edmondson’s Sky contract was subsequently not renewed for 2015, and after riding the Herald Sun Tour with the Great Britain Academy, he joined An Post-Chain Reaction, achieving some success with second place overall at the An Post Ras and an overall win at the Ronde de l’Oise.
In 2016, he joined NFTO, but was unable to find success, eventually finding himself again without a team when the British squad folded at the end of the season.
Did Josh Edmondson do anything wrong?
Under UCI rules, any injection given to a rider must be approved and administered by a certified doctor, and reported to the UCI within 24 hours. This means that Edmondson clearly broke UCI rules when injecting himself with vitamins.
Edmondson also said that he had taken Tramadol, both independently and when given to him by a race doctor at the 2013 Tour of Britain.
Use of the drug is legal, but it also has a common side-effect of drowsiness, and has in the past been blamed for causing crashes.
Tramadol is not banned under anti-doping regulations, so Edmondson did not break any rules in taking the drug. However, the UCI has lobbied the World Anti-Doping Agency to add Tramadol to its list of banned substances, and Team Sky has had a policy in place since 2014 that none of its riders should either race or train while using Tramadol.