Cycling: Leeds’s own Edmondson sets sights on TDF2014

Josh Edmondson.

Josh Edmondson.

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Josh Edmondson has set himself the grand ambition of being on the start gate for next year’s Tour de France in his home city.

The Leeds lad has had a productive first year of a neo-pro contract with powerhouse British squad Sky Procycling.

And after supporting both Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins in earning week-long stage victories in his first year, the 21-year-old has now set his sights on the biggest race of all.

Ideally, Edmondson would settle for competing in any of the Grand Tours next year, with both the three-week Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana two races that would enhance his development significantly.

But with the Tour de France starting in his home city on July 5 next year, a day before his 22nd birthday, that is the prize he is most focused on.

“My aim next year is to do a Grand Tour and with the Tour being in Yorkshire that would be an absolute dream,” said Edmondson, who has impressed in his role of domestique to Sky’s big guns.

“But I have to really, really prove myself at the start of the year, from this month onwards in the training camps, I have to start impressing.

“I certainly think I could do it next year, but it’s going to be tough.

“It would just be unbelievable to be on the start line, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like with all my family and friends there cheering me on.”

Edmondson is pragmatic enough to know that getting into Sky’s nine-man team for a Tour de France – in which they are two-time defending champions – is no mean feat.

But given his development on the step up from amateur cycling, he feels that if he can continue the upward trend in the coming months he may well force his way into Sky chief Dave Brailsford’s thinking.

Building his stamina for the marathon of a Grand Tour is one key areas he will look to work on over the the training camps and the early months of the season, when he hopes to contest the week-long stage races in the Algarve and Mallorca.

“The longest race I did was the Tour of Suisse, that was 10 days, and you really start to notice after six or seven days how hard it is every day,” he said.

“We speak about it a lot in the team.

“It’s like any race, you get into a rhythm of going through the motions, but every race is different and you’ve got to be on the ball every day.”

Edmondson’s assessment of his first year with Sky is one of more ups than downs.

A look at his results’ sheet for the year is misleading given he is not paid to finish races first, instead taking his turn on the front to help his team-mates achieve that goal.

In helping Froome win in Romandie and Wiggins wheel across the line first in the Tour of Britain, Edmondson proved his potential is steadily being realised.

“That’s my job, to always be there to help the guys that are going to win, and I think I’ve done that to the standard they thought I would in my first year, so from that perspective it’s gone well,” said Edmondson, who was back in his home city recently at the Sky offices.

“No matter how good you are you cannot just jump into the role of a team leader or a sprinter, even if you had the strength to do that.

“It’s unbelievable to learn alongside the likes of Brad and Chris. Brad is always taking the mick out of my Yorkshire accent!

“The Tour of Britain was a great race, and a big opportunity for me.

“Because Brad was leading it showed people how I ride because I could just ride on the front and do my job. It was a good opportunity for me.”

Leeds cyclist Adam Duggleby and team-mate Steve Bate. PIC: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

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