Owain Doull suffers ruptured appendix ahead of Tour Down Under

Team Sky neo-pro's WorldTour debut put on hold after being hospitalised in Adelaide

Owain Doull’s UCI WorldTour debut has been put on hold after the Team Sky neo-pro suffered a ruptured appendix on the eve of the Santos Tour Down Under.

Welshman Doull, 23, was one of two Brits, alongside Lotto-Soudal’s James Shaw, set to make their debut in cycling’s top tier as the 2017 season kicked off in Adelaide.

But while Shaw was on the Uxley startline, Doull was in hospital having sat out of the People’s Choice Classic, the race’s traditional prelude, and then been replaced by Kenny Ellisonde in the Tour Down Under line-up.

Team Sky initially reported Doull’s absence as the result of illness, but the Welshman confirmed the full extent of his problem on Twitter.

“Not exactly how I pictured making my WorldTour debut, but when you appendix ruptures there’s much you can do,” he wrote, accompanied by a photo of him in a hospital bed.

Ellisonde, who had been in Brisbane training with Chris Froome ahead of the Herald Sun Tour, made his Team Sky debut instead of Doull in the stifling heat of stage one.

Danny van Poppel, the team’s nominated sprinter, finished second as Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan pulled on the first ochre jersey of this year’s race.

Team Sky doctor, Dr Neil Heron, later posted an update on Doull’s condition via the team website.

He explained: “Initially Owain had a stomach bug and he had those symptoms for around 36 hours.

“He was starting to improve, but on Tuesday morning his stomach pain became a lot worse.

“We began to suspect appendicitis and he was taken to Royal Adelaide Hospital where they confirmed the suspected diagnosis.”

Team Sky’s Owain Doull will be out of action for at least for weeks as he recovers from appendicitis (pic: Sirotti)

Dr Heron confirmed Doull is likely to be out of action for four weeks while he recovers – a major setback to his stated goal of earning a places in the Team Sky line-up for the spring Classics.

“The earliest he will leave the hospital is Thursday and recovery and recuperation is likely to take at least four weeks,” Dr Heron continued.

“Owain is obviously disappointed, but he appreciates he needs to be 100% fit to get back racing.”

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