Rising track star Alex Edmondson is off to Colombia for the world championships later this month as Australia look to defend their team pursuit title. Edmondson was recently announced as a member of the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy team. Although until the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the track is his burning desire.
"My ultimate dream is to say that I'm an Olympic champion. I think that with the team pursuit, our goal is Rio 2016 and standing on the top step," Edmondson told Cyclingnews.
Edmondson is following in the tradition in Australians in recent years such as Cameron Meyer, Michael Hepburn and Jack Bobridge who have won numerous rainbow jerseys on the track before making the successful switch to the road. This continues a long tradition with Stuart O'Grady and Graeme Brown two other examples of how a track apprenticeship can help prepare riders for the road.
While the track is where Edmondson's ambitions lay until Rio, he is happy to shift gears and get out on the road.
"It's all about track until 2016 and depending on what happens there and the circumstances of how my road legs are, I'll start to make a decision on what I want to do. Until Rio though, it's all track so whatever I do on the road is a bonus.
"With that said, I don't want to say 'no road, I just want to focus on the track' as the road is such good prep for the track and vice versa and they combine so nicely. With the South Australian Institute of Sport and Cycling Australia, we are so lucky and privileged to have such a smooth transition between being able to do the track and live overseas with the road."
The multiple national champion will be living like a sponge in 2014, absorbing everything and anything to improve his riding and also to become a well-rounded individual off the bike.
"Whoever I'm around, I try to learn off. I don't think anyone's perfect and even from the young guys coming through, you can still learn from them which is a good thing from Cycling Australia. Being able to work in the track program you meet so many different people then you go to the road program and everyone functions differently.
"You begin to pick up little tips even if it's just how to pack your bag, how to stay clean or cooking tips. That's the cool thing that you learn something new and if I can take some of these little points, I'll be a better rider and a better person in general."
Team Pursuit the ultimate glory
While Edmondson may harbor ambitions for personal glory, victory in the team pursuit firstly in Colombia then Rio, excites him most. Edmondson teamed up with Luke Davison to claim the Australian national madison title in December and was part of the South Australian outfit which claimed the national gold medal in the team pursuit in January and it is with those teammates that Edmondson will head to Colombia with.
"For me, it's the team pursuit. Here in Australia, we have such a big history in the team pursuit. Every day is team pursuit and to be able to share that with boys is an unbelievable feeling. In saying that, you also want to be able to get a little bit of individual glory but for me, if I get to ride the individual pursuit that would be pretty cool.
"Because we put so much emphasis on the team pursuit, that's what we do, it's what we live so hopefully we can win that."
Last year Edmondson notched up five stage wins at four different races in the Australian National Road Series but he is yet to have a full-time crack at the road in Europe. His stint with the Jayco-AIS team will help Edmondson gain a greater understanding of road cycling and hopefully result in winning a time trial or two.
"For me, that's the exciting thing. I don't know what I'm capable off yet. I haven't really been able to commit to one path, it's always been that the road has taken a back seat so fingers crossed that it's something good. I'm going to be looking at time trials and prologues such as the shorter sharper stuff.
"With the track being the big preference for me this year and especially with the Commonwealth Games, what I've got to do when I'm with the team is all the best that I can do. I'm still learning on the road. I haven't spent a full year over there with the likes of Campbell Flakemore, so I'm going to be learning off these guys."
Alex isn't the only Edmondson to excel on a bike with sister Annette continually adding to her already impressive palmarès which includes the bronze medal in the omnium at the London Olympics. The sibling rivalry is further motivation to chase rainbow jerseys and Olympic gold medals as Edmondson explained.
"There have been many times before when she'll race before me and I see her celebrating having won a national championship and of course it makes me go, 'I want to do it for myself' then its 'oh, she get one up on me if I don't do this' so it's a good rivalry but at the end of the day, I'm so proud to see what she does and it's just so good to be able to give back to the people that support us and allow us to do what we do."
"The majority of what I'm doing is because of the help I've received."