"Not exactly how I pictured my WorldTour debut" rider says on Instagram

Having been forced to pull out of the People’s Choice Classic and the Tour Down Under due to “stomach problems”, Owain Doull is now recovering in hospital after an operation to remove his appendix.

The new Team Sky recruit had been expecting to make his WorldTour debut on Tuesday, but will now spend the next few days in hospital as he recovers from the operation.

“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,” said Team Sky doctor Neil Heron.

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

“The earliest he will leave the hospital is Thursday and recovery and recuperation is likely to take at least four weeks. Owain is obviously disappointed, but he appreciates he needs to be 100% fit to get back racing.”

After having the operation, Doull took to Instagram to post a message to fans as he recovered in a hospital bed.

“Not exactly how I pictured making my WorldTour debut,” Doull wrote. “But when your appendix ruptures there isn’t much you can do.”

Doull had previously stated that he hoped a strong performance at the Tour Down Under would put him in contention for a ride at the Tour of Flanders.

However the Welshman will now be out of action until late February, with a possible return to racing at the Abu Dhabi Tour.