Cyclist Robbie McEwen is the most successful sprinter in Australian cycling history, with 12 Tour de France stage victories, he’s a former Australian road champion, all in a career which began back in 1996. However, his 2009 career saw more recovery than racing, after he hit a street sign at the Tour of Belgium in May, which fractured his shinbone and tore through ligaments in his leg. “It’s on my mind 24/7,” he said. “Every time I do something with it, whether I’m getting out of bed, sitting on the ergo or out on the road doing a sprint, I’m constantly thinking about how my knee is feeling. It’s the same today; I’m seeing how it feels using big gears, small gears. It’s just something that’s unavoidable. It felt good, no pain, no stiffness, so I think with a few more races in it, it will just get better and better,” he said. He finished third at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic stage, and he is happy with those results. “It’s great to be back out there and amongst it. In other years I might have been disappointed to run third, but the result is probably the least of my worries at the moment. Just getting through it unscathed and getting back amongst it, I’ll build on top of that. I’m here to get race fit,” he added. “If I happen to win a round along the way, that’d be great, but I’m happy just to be out there. My knee’s not sore riding around at the front of the bunch. I’ve started off with a third, I’ll try and I’ll try to build it up as we go through the series,” McEwen said. “It’s nice to be back in the bunch, certainly. I’ve been looking forward to getting back into racing since the accident basically. This is the first little baby step in getting back into it, and this was only a 40 kilometre race. Over the next week I’ve got nationals on a very difficult course so that will be a bit of a test, not only for the knee but the fitness too. I’m not going in with huge expectations at nationals,” he said. As the season progresses, McEwen will decide whether to keep racing or to retire in 2011.