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Former Team Sky rider Josh Edmondson admits no-needle rule violation

Leeds rider confesses to injecting himself with legal vitamins but Team Sky deny cover-up

Former Team Sky rider Josh Edmondson has admitted breaking the UCI’s no-needle rule to inject himself with legal vitamins during his final year with the British UCI WorldTour team.

Edmondson confessed to the BBC he had been caught by the team after a team-mate found the needles and vials he had bought and reported them to management.

Edmondson, 24, says he felt under pressure after being provisionally selected for the Vuelta a Espana, but after the discovery was made while he was racing at the Tour de Pologne, the young Brit never raced for Team Sky again.

He also told the BBC he had been administered controversial painkiller tramadol by a race doctor, and suffered depression in the aftermath of using it.

Former Team Sky head of medicine Dr Steve Peters has denied a ‘cover-up’, claiming Edmondson said he had not used the vitamins at the time, and that – after breaking down upon being discovered – Dr Peters was concerned about the rider’s welfare.

Josh Edmondson says he secretly injected himself with vitamins while at Team Sky (pic: Sirotti)

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC sports editor Dan Roan, Edmondson – currently without a team having last raced for the now-defunct NFTO – said he is preparing to talk to anti-doping authorities.

On his decision to take intravenous vitamins, he said: “This was my way of closing the gap a little without doping. Some people think there is a grey area, and that’s why there is a no-needle policy, but people across sport have been injecting vitamins for years and it is an alternative to doping.

“It’s not the same – if you were doping, you are getting massive gains. This is just freshening what you do naturally.”

Edmondson said upon being discovered after the Tour of Poland: “I got back from that and noticed all the vitamins which had been hidden in my room were on top of this chest of drawers – and I realised I’d been caught out.

“At that point I was panic-stricken. I’d never known anything like it. You just go weak and I had no idea what to do.”

“[Dr Peters] said ‘there’s been an incident’ and I broke down. I was crying, I was in shock. And he said, ‘somebody has sent us some photos of this intravenous equipment and the vitamins’.”

Edmondson last raced with Team Sky at the 2014 Tour of Poland (pictured) but returned home to find his vials and a needle had been discovered (pic: Sirotti)

Dr Peters insists the decision not to report Edmondson was not taken lightly, but that concerns over the rider’s mental wellbeing prompted them to instead employ a supervision and behavioural programme until the end of his contract – which expired at the conclusion of the season.

“He fell apart at the seams quite dramatically. A number of things I asked him during that interview really alarmed me,” he told the BBC.

“Wearing my hat as a doctor, for somebody to be culpable they cannot be ill and I suspect he was ill.

“If he’s not able to give informed consent to what he is doing and say, ‘I understand this’, then in my world, as a psychiatrist, you are not culpable, because your illness is talking.”

He fell apart at the seams quite dramatically. A number of things I asked him during that interview really alarmed me

Peters insist minutes of the meetings senior management had were taken, which he says will back his claim it was him calling for the reporting to be stopped while Edmondson was assessed.

He added: “We did it on good faith and decided on two counts. One, we didn’t think he’d violated any rules [Peters claims, contrary to Edmondson’s interview, the rider said he never used the equipment] and second and, most important, he was not in a good place.”

Leeds-born Edmondson did not ride again for Team Sky in 2014, missing the Vuelta a Espana and the conclusion to the season, and joined An Post-Chain Reaction in 2015 while also representing the national team.

He rode with NFTO in 2016, but is currently without a team.

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