JUST OVER months after he was chewed up and spat out of the winner-takes-all environment at Team Sky, Leeds cyclist Josh Edmondson has revealed how his hunger has returned to get back to the top of cycling’s tree.
Edmondson was just 20 when Sir Dave Brailsford’s all-conquering British team spotted his potential and signed him on a lucrative neo-pro deal.
But two years of injuries, setbacks and gradual decline led to his contract not being renewed and, at just 22, Edmondson was left questioning his motivation to continue.
Offers to race were in short supply and Edmondson went into winter training working purely for himself.
An-Post Chain Reaction, an Irish pro-continental team, threw him a lifeline in March 2015 and Edmondson set about resurrecting his career.
He did enough in those few months to earn a contract for 2016 at the same level with NFTO ProCycling, a team a lot closer to home, and for whom the family environment has helped reinvigorate one of British cycling’s most precocious talents.
Such a statement was proven true once more at the weekend’s Tour de Yorkshire when Edmondson not once, but twice, got involved in breakaways to help spread the race and get his name noticed.
And it was all part of the plan to one day get back to the top.
“I love it here, it’s a family-run team, everyone gets on well, it’s nice and relaxed but serious when it needs to be and that’s the perfect mix for me,” said Edmondson
“It’s benefited me massively. Having Sid and Tom (father and son) Barrass managing and coaching me, guys I know so well and who live close to me, has helped me a lot.”
If his experiences within the bubble of Team Sky has taught him anything, it is that there is no need to rush.
Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome were both late bloomers before going on to win the Tour de France.
“I still feel there’s a grand tour team out there for me,” said Edmondson.
“This year I want to prove that I’m much more capable now than I was back then, that I’m a better rider.
“I feel as though I’m improving each year. I’m still only 23, so I’m far from past it. I’ve been getting better every year and this year I’m stronger than ever.
“I just love racing, and what happened at Sky drives me on.”
Edmondson could take great satisfaction at his performance on home soil in the second Tour de Yorkshire.
Granted, he slipped down the field on the difficult final day, but the exertions of the previous two days into Settle and Doncaster had been worth it.
“I’d been aiming for the Tour de Yorkshire for a while,” he said. “Last year I wasn’t sure how I’d go because I was over-trained and under-raced, so I tried to race a little bit more but I got sick at a bad time and was then struggling to get fit.
“So I’m glad I was able to come back home feeling a bit better than I thought I would, so hopefully I recover from this now and I get some good form.
“After this I’ve got a couple of Premier Calendar events and then the build-up to the national championships (in June).
“It’s important for me this year that I ride well in the nationals.
“And after that it’s the Tour of Britain (September).”