The McEwen formula is simple. Start the year early with some wins in Oz, to prove he's still got it. Go back to Europe and prove it again by getting into "the form of his life", only to get sick and lay low for a few months, missing some targets that he really wanted but never seems to be able to get. Then struggle back, just off the pace, just in time. With 2 races to go grovel at the back, just keeping within the time limit. Then win again, seemingly from nowhere, when no one is looking for him. Then front up at a Grand Tour and take the first stage. Easy as pie.
McEwen had good form earlier in the year, indeed he said he was climbing better than he ever has (being not a noted climber, of course, but better at it than 90% of the rest of us). Then he got sick. He always does. Somehow he gets enough form to hang in there on the first Grand Tour Giro stage, when the likes of Hushovd and Haedo are dropped and the bunch is thinned to a top 30 or so. Somehow his team get him into that selection, they grind back the gap to the breakaway and deliver him to the last 2 or 3 kms. He takes it from there, just sittin' in and waiting for Petacchi's train to leave the station. And then jump off, just in time to take the win. CN report here.