Finishing third at the traditional Tour Down Under lead-up race the Down Under Classic, Edmondson gave a taste of what might be beckoning for 2019, a chance for the South Australian to sprint for himself on occasion against World Tour competition.
“I was there to see what I could do in a sprint,” said Edmondson of his Down Under classic performance. “I haven’t really had many opportunities, obviously I was leading out Caleb last year. This was the first opportunity to see what it’s like and have a bunch gallop.
“I was a bit nervous beforehand, but you can only do what you can do and I think my teammates helped me out as much as they could and put me in the perfect place. I’m thrilled to come out with third.”
The 2018 national road race champion is one of the quasi-sprinters on the squad, tough riders who can handle the hills and also have the endurance to sprint well at the end of a hard race. With Ewan’s departure, there is no pure sprinter who can compete on a consistent basis with the top-tier fast men in the World Tour, but opportunities exist on the intermediate stages for a rider like Edmondson.
“Definitely we don’t have a Caleb Ewan like last year,” Edmondson said, “but we still have a few fast guys like Luka Mezgec and Matteo Trentin. It’s exciting for me to have a few more opportunities.
“Obviously it was great having Caleb in the team but we go to every race we to with clear ambitions. We got to each race trying to do the best we can and here, we’ll be aiming for Impey from now on (at the Tour Down Under).”
The 25-year-old still has plenty of time to develop in his career and has nominated the cobbled classics as one of his main objectives for the year. He raced almost all of the cobbled races last year as a domestique and has ambitions of going deeper into the decisive points of the big races this season.
“The big one is the classics,” Edmondson said. “I’ve always wanted to target them and it’s been a dream to win a one-day classic. If I can go there and get some good experience and also a good result, at the same time I’ll be helping [Luke Durbridge] Durbo and Trentin.
“I think Trentin is right on the mark to able to stand on the top step. I’ll just go there and if it’s my lucky day then I’ll take it with two hands, but we’ll have to see what happens.”
Edmondson isn’t foreign to success over the cobbles, taking out the under 23 Tour of Flanders victory in 2015. At the time it sparked a lot of interest from team boss Matt White about the big win from the World Tour academy athlete, calling up then-head coach James Victor to discuss the specifics of the victory and think to the future.
Despite that success, Edmondson recognises that taking an elite win is going to be another challenge entirely.
“Definitely being able to win that, that has always been a dream,” Edmondson said. “I remember sitting up all hours of the night and watching that race on TV. To be able to win that race was special, but in the scheme of things it’s only under 23s, it doesn’t mean a hell of a lot.
“It was special to win but I want to be able to win the big one, the monument in the elites. I’ve got a lot of hard work to do between here and there, but I’ll give it my best shot.”