McEwen returns from injury at Jayco Bay Classic
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

McEwen returns from injury at Jayco Bay Classic

by VeloNation Press at 3:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Robbie McEwen will make his return to the peloton in the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic on Saturday January 2nd. The 37-year-old sprinter will be making his return to the peloton after a 2009 season marred with injury.

The Australian's year started off well, with a win at the Tour Down Under in January. But only two more wins, the Trofeo Cala Millor and the third stage of the Tour de Picardie followed.

McEwen then crashed heavily in the second stage of the Tour of Belgium, damaging his left knee, tearing ligaments and tendons. After surgery and a long rehab, McEwen raced again in the post Tour crit in Aalst/Belgium, where he finished second. His screws were removed in late August, but he had another surgery on his patella tendon in mid-September that again kept him sidelined. The Queenslander spent most of the year focused on rehab, and can't wait to get back into competition.

“It’s been the worst season of my whole career because of that injury,” McEwen told OzCycling.

“But look on the bright side of things I’m back in training. I’m right to go and starting to get seriously fit and think I’ll be a contender at the Bay Crits and everything that comes after that.”

The Katusha rider is a six-time winner of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, but says the 2010 will me the most important yet.

“In 2010 the Bay Crits are going to be more important for me than ever,” explained McEwen to OzCycling. “Because I had my injury in May and then missed the whole season these criteriums are going to be really important to build my race condition to be ready for the season so I think they’re something I really need to do.

“Not only will I be racing them to get condition, I’m really itching to win a race again and the sooner the better.”

The former green jersey winner of the Tour de France, who has also won 12 stages in the event since turning professional in 1996, won't know if he will continue in 2011 until later this season. As long as he enjoys racing and has a contract, he'll stay in the peloton. But for a man used to winning races, his start of the season will set the tone for the year and quickly let him know where he stands in the pecking order of the sprinters.

He's anxious to get started racing and forget 2009 adding, “Obviously you think about when it might be [his first win back] but I still enjoy riding and I’ve missed a whole season so I feel like I’ve got a season I’ve got to catch-up on again. Plus I’m not sick of it yet and I think I’m still going to be pretty good at it so I may ride again in 2011 but I’ll know that by August."

“I still enjoy cycling but the enjoyment level is dependent on how you’re travelling physically.

“If I’m not achieving what I want to achieve like I have been able to in the past and having fun then I’m not going to do it anymore. That’s why I’ve done it for so long, because I enjoy it.”

McEwen will be riding alongside talented New Zealander Greg Henderson on a strong Mazda team. Henderson will be riding for Team Sky next season, and teaming up with the Australian will give them a good chance at victory.


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