Stuart O'Grady leads the peloton during stage five of the 2012 Tour de France.

Stuart O'Grady leads the peloton during stage five of the 2012 Tour de France. Photo: Getty Images

Stuart O'Grady has made a low-key return to cycling, joining the new president of Cycling Australia and owner of his former pro team, Gerry Ryan, among the guests at Saturday's stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

The Olympic gold medallist and Paris-Roubaix winner, who admitted, last year, to using banned blood booster EPO before the 1998 Tour de France, is resettling in Australia after his sudden retirement.

O'Grady, who is also expected to attend Sunday's final Sun Tour stage at Arthur's Seat, had no official role on Saturday but was invited to a small breakfast at Ryan's Mitchelton winery before the fourth day of racing started among the vineyards.

O'Grady was also invited to a race dinner on Saturday night after a day of racing finished at Nagambie. The 40-year-old is a close friend of race director John Trevorrow, who does not want the ex-pro - previously a popular member of the elite peloton - to become a stranger to the sport.

Before returning to Australia, O'Grady discussed his trepidation about coming home after the bombshell of his past drug use.

He was seen in the crowd at Adelaide's Tour Down Under last month - the race in his home town where he would have received a hero's welcome in what was expected to be his final year with Orica-GreenEDGE - but had no role in official proceedings around the World Tour event. While O'Grady spoke at a charity dinner that took place in Adelaide during the tour, it's anticipated he won't speak again at length publicly until the release of his book. Additions had to be made to the manuscript after O'Grady's confession - last July - to EPO use.

O'Grady and his family returned to Australia last month, leaving what had been a long-time home base in Europe. At the time of his admission, he said he experimented with EPO once in his career. O'Grady's insistence it was a one-off has caused figures in the Australian cycling community, notably veteran coach Dave Sanders, to say their devastation has been lessened.

In a recent interview, the new head of world cycling, Brian Cookson, said he hoped O'Grady would disclose everything he knows about doping - in the appropriate forum - for the sake of cleaning up the sport.

The International Cycling Union has appointed an independent reform commission to establish a process that will encourage riders still concealing secrets about doping to come forward and confess.

''I understand the difficulties that he's in,'' Cookson said of O'Grady. ''But I'll encourage him to come forward and speak to the commission and tell everything that he knows.''