Cadel Evans said he is unlikely to compete at the world championships this year after revealing the extent of his knee injury following the Olympic cycling time trial on Wednesday.
After finishing 15th in the road race last Saturday, the Australian battled through the pain to finish a commendable fifth in the 47.3km race at 1min 23sec behind unstoppable Swiss winner Fabian Cancellara.
The 31-year-old Australian admitted he was happy with the result as he had spent the run-up to the Games trying to recover from a damaged anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
"With everything that's gone on in the last three months - I had tendonitis, a huge crash in the Tour de France, defending the yellow (jersey) with only one leg and breaking my anterior cruciate ligament - I was on crutches for three or four days after the Tour," he said.
Asked how he felt now his Games campaign was over, he replied: "Not bad, but not great. No medals, a lot of hard work."
Evans battled tendonitis in his left knee in the build-up to the Tour de France and rode through the pain of a crash to a second consecutive runner-up place.
At a post-Tour party, he reportedly slipped and damaged his knee, although the extent of the injury was played down. In reality, he spent two days on crutches and undertook extensive rehabilitation work in a bid to make it to the Olympics.
He added: "To be here vying for the medals isn't a bad effort. I worked flat-out for a week after the Tour to recover from that [knee injury]."
A damaged anterior cruciate ligament means the knee loses much of its stability, but cyclists can avoid reconstruction because there's no sharp lateral movement involved in the pedalling motion.
Evans denied his season was over but speaking through a team spokesman he said he would "probably not" ride the world championships in Varese, Italy in September.
The spokesman said the only race currently on his schedule was the Tour of Poland in September.
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008