It was a horror start. Rory Sutherland didn't even make it to his new team's launch. Let alone far enough to know whether he'd be riding the Tour Down Under.
The Canberra cyclist was already going under the knife as Israel Start-up Nation was officially launched, after a one in a thousand crash left him with a broken femur.
It was meant to be the start of his swansong season. He'd joined the new UCI team to help create something unique in the cycling world.
But an electric scooter ride back to the team hotel in Tel Aviv, the night before the team launch, went horribly wrong.
He hit a pebble and went down. But there wasn't a scratch on him. Just a broken leg.
Luckily, Sutherland recovered enough from surgery to be able to fly home to Spain before Christmas.
"A group of new guys together and the easiest way back is we do one of these little rental scooters - and they're everywhere there," he said.
"So there's eight of us going back at 12am and one of my mates is behind me and he said, 'I think you just hit a little stone or something'.
"It basically slipped the scooter and it's one of those things that 999 times out of a thousand nothing happens.
"I landed straight on my left leg. I had nothing else - didn't hit my head, didn't hit anything else on my body ... except for a big break in my femur."
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Sutherland's initial diagnosis was one year to get back.
Not what the 37-year-old wanted to hear having planned to retire at the end of 2020 - 17 years after his professional career began with Rabobank.
Now even those plans are up in the air.
After a few weeks of rehab - involving three hours of physiotherapy every day - he's got that diagnosis down to six months and has set his sights on this year's Tour de France.
He's already started swimming and thinks he could be back on the bike "pretty soon".
Getting back to race fitness, however, will take a bit longer.
"The end of May is my goal to be racing," Sutherland said.
"That 5-6 month window that the surgeons give me that's my goal to be back for so that I can do the Tour [de France].
"It gives you that extra bit of motivation ... whether you make it there or not it is incredibly important to keep you going in those rougher days."
Sutherland was unsure whether the TDU would've been on his schedule - he hadn't started talking about that before he'd had the accident.
But they have a strong team, which includes sprint-star Andre Greipel, for the race.
It starts with the prologue in Adelaide on Sunday, with the opening stage in the Barossa Valley on Tuesday.
Fellow Canberran Nathan Haas is beginning his first season with Cofidis.
Sutherland was unsure how his mate Haas would go. The fact it's so early in the season always makes it a hard race to do well in.
"Tour Down Under is tricky, it's super tricky. The problem with Tour Down Under is it often ends up ruining the rest of your season," he said.
"If you're at top, top, top form and you are able to win it that's great, but the season goes for another 9.5 months.
"It's really hit and miss. You're either on or you're off. There's no intermediate because it's unlike any race in Europe.
"The efforts are short and very fast ... it comes down to like two moments and you're either there or you're not there."