Robbie McEwen proved he's on the way back after taking third place on stage two of the Tour Down Under today.
The Australian Katusha sprinter broke his knee at the Tour of Belgium in May last year and missed the rest of the season. "I guess I'm happy with the result after seven months out of competition but it wasn't my best sprint. I ended up going a little bit early and ran out of legs because I was on the front."
McEwen had bumped Greg Henderson off Sky team-mate Chris Sutton's wheel, something he later apologised for via Twitter, but wasn't too worried that the both Henderson and Greipel both came past him right before the line.
"They came out of the wheels and passed me, but that's acceptable considering how far I've come," said McEwen.
McEwen posted pictures on the internet from the knee operation he had, and of the resulting muscle atrophy. The difference was shocking, and not something anyone recovers from quickly.
"Coming back from a broken leg, yeah, it is a long term thing. You can't put a time frame on that sort of thing, you've just got to keep doing the right things and keep building up and see how far I get."
Whether or not McEwen will get back to a level where he can challenge HTC-Columbia sprinter Mark Cavendish remains to be seen and not even he is predicting when he'll get the chance to take him on at full strength.
"Maybe I'll be right in a month or two, or it might be six months until I'm back at 100 percent, it's impossible to say."
Tour Down Under 2010: Race reports
Tour Down Under, stage two: Greipel takes win number two
Tour Down Under, stage one: Greipel takes back sprint crown Cancer Council Helpline Classic: Team Sky off to perfect start as Henderson wins
Tour Down Under 2010: Related links
Downing adapts to embrace new challenge
Hayman admits to nerves before Sky's debut
Tour Down Under news round-up (Jan 16)
Armstrong leads thousands on Twitter ride in Adelaide
Team Sky ready for first race
Armstrong warms up Down Under
Armstrong in Australia: "I'm in better shape than last year"
Team Sky gets ready for Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under 2010: Start list
Lance Armstrong to ride 2010 Tour Down Under
Cadel Evans and BMC to ride Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under teams confirm rosters
Davis wins 2009 Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under 2010: Photo galleries
TDU stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
TDU stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Cancer Council Helpline Classic
Armstrong in Adelaide
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1