After taking a more than one-month break from competition, Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) returned to racing in Belgium at the Tour de Wallonie and today sprinted to victory in the penultimate stage. It was the first win of the season for the 39-year-old Australian and a good harbinger of form as he builds for his goal of winning the road world championship in Copenhagen, Denmark this September.
McEwen, winner of 12 Tour de France stages and a three-time green jersey winner at the French Grand Tour, was not selected to RadioShack's Tour de France squad and spent the time training.
"I didn't see much of the Tour de France as I was concentrated on my own training," said McEwen. "I just trained at home easy for a week, then I went to the South of France and trained a lot in the hills. Just four hours a day, medium tempo, just building up my condition.
"A week before this race, back in Belgium I trained in the hills of the Flemish Ardennes and planned to used this Tour de Wallonie to get some rhythm back again. Apparently I found my rhythm quite quickly. This is promising for the next couple of months."
McEwen intended to work for teammate Manuel Cardoso in the finale of the Tour de Wallonie's fourth stage, but instead found himself in perfect position on the wheel of Daniele Bennati whose wheel he jumped off of for victory in Mouscron
"I am still very ambitious," said McEwen. "Since the beginning of the season the world championships in Copenhagen is a big objective. I think I can do a big preparation by doing this race and races like Eneco Tour, Hamburg, Plouay and Fourmies. I just need to be selected now. Hopefully that will be the case."