Young Aussie cyclist is king of the call-up

RISING STAR: Alex Edmondson's new road cycling focus is paying off for the young Aussie with his team Orica-Scott calling on him for several major World Tour events.
RISING STAR: Alex Edmondson's new road cycling focus is paying off for the young Aussie with his team Orica-Scott calling on him for several major World Tour events. Scott Heppell

ALEX Edmondson's phone keeps ringing and the races keep getting bigger.

Orica-Scott's rising Australian star has become the king of the call-up, with his stunning run of results compelling the team to keep raising the bar.

Edmondson's impressive 25th Tour of Flanders saw him unexpectedly summoned to Paris-Roubaix.

An eye-catching Tour de Romandie then paved the way for a surprise Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia, starting Friday.

All this only four months after the South Australian decided to prioritise road cycling over the track, where he has won Olympic silver and three world titles.

Edmondson has also only recently overcome knee and thyroid problems.

"I'm shocked, to be honest, but I'm just loving it. It feels like I've started cycling all over again," Edmondson said.

"When I got the call from Whitey (Orica-Scott sport director Matt White) for the Giro I was like 'Are you sure? Is this a prank?' I'm really excited because every cyclist wants to ride a Grand Tour and it's come a hell of a lot sooner than I anticipated."

Edmondson finished fourth in a stage of the Volta Catalunya in March before a sparkling Tour de Romandie saw him take third in the prologue and finish fourth in stages 2 and 3.

At only 23, these are big World Tour results.

"When you do start seeing these little signs it makes you that much hungrier to succeed and getting those fourths and thirds has given me more hunger and drive to go better and win my first pro race," he said.

"I probably shouldn't say I'll never go back to the track, but at the moment I'm really enjoying the fact I focus on one thing and know the races coming up, even though they keep changing and I keep getting thrown into bigger ones."

In Italy, Edmondson will partner Luka Mezgec in a lead-out role to protect Orica's Aussie sprint sensation Caleb Ewan.

"I think if I knew I was doing the Giro earlier I'd be panicking and stressing and thinking 'I need to get ready, I need to get ready'. This way I've only had a few days to worry," he said.

"I'm going there to try and help Caleb in the finishes and that's the No.1 goal; to get him to the line as fresh as possible and hopefully in the best place to hit the front and get some stage wins.

"I really have to thank the team for the opportunities they've given me and how they've treated me this year.

"It would have been pretty easy for them to push me through with the injuries, but I couldn't have asked for any more from them."

Sam Edmumd, Herald Sun

Topics:  cycling giro d'italia sport

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