| Tyson Gay proved the unbeatable can be beaten when he snuck to victory over Bolt in Stockholm [GALLO/GETTY]
Usain Bolt may be the fastest man in the world but the Jamaican sprinter has been in no hurry to get back on the track as he prepares for the world championships and next year's London Olympics.
After a back injury forced him to cut short his 2010 season, Bolt has been slower than usual getting out of the blocks this year, but he said there was a valid reason unrelated to his back.
"Things are coming together," Bolt told Reuters.
"I had a few niggles over the winter as most athletes have but nothing serious."
Part of the masterplan
His eagerly-awaited return comes about two months later than he normally kicks off his season but the 24-year-old said his delayed start was part of a masterplan to time his run to perfection for the bigger meets ahead.
The triple world and Olympic champion has not raced for more than nine months but will make his belated comeback next week, at a lucrative Diamond League meeting in Rome.
"It will be my first time to run in Italy and I am looking forward to the good weather," Bolt said.
"The line-up will be strong as it is a Diamond league meeting, but I am fit and ready."
Bolt is far from his best at the moment and is likely to be happy to finish just a nose ahead of his next competitor in his first race back. He will take on compatriot and former world record-holder Asafa Powell and European champion Christophe Lemaitre in Italy.
Bolt's agent Ricky Simms said the Jamaican would remain in Europe to compete at meets in the Czech Republic and Norway before briefly returning home to train in the Caribbean.
As the defending champion, he qualifies automatically for the world championships but may still compete at the Jamaican national trials in late June, before flying back to Europe to compete at Paris and Monaco in July.
He can be beaten
Bolt's main focus this year is trying to defend his 100 and 200 metres titles at the world championships, which will be held in South Korea from August 27th to September 4th.
While Bolt can race fellow countryman Powell all he wants, what most people are really looking forward to is a duel with American Tyson Gay.
In August last year, Gay produced a great 100 to beat Bolt in Stockholm to end the Jamaican's two-year unbeaten streak and prove to everyone that, on any given day, even the greatest sprinter of his time can be beaten.
Ricky Simms refers to that 100 as little more than "the race where he had a problem with his back."
Bolt will hope his back, or any other little niggles, do not hinder his careful preparations for the upcoming London Olympic Games in 2012.