Owain Doull: I lost 7kgs following appendix operation

Olympic team pursuit gold medallist says he is still two weeks away from reaching the form he enjoyed in January

Owen Doull at the 2017 Tour Down Under
(Image credit: Watson)

Owain Doull has revealed that he lost 7kgs in just over a week due to his appendix bursting days before he was due to start his WorldTour career with Team Sky.

Doull had been set to race his first race as a full-time Sky rider at the Tour Down Under on January 17 but had to pull out at the last minute when his appendix burst.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly ahead of the first stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, where Doull is now making his Sky debut, he said: “I’ve lost a lot of weight since then [Tour Down Under]. Partly the appendix [itself] but more what happens with the appendix. I was throwing up, I didn’t eat for three days before going to hospital and while I was in hospital I didn’t eat at all I was just on drips and stuff.

“I went from 73kgs to 66kgs, so it’s quite a drop.”

Doull said that in all he spent ten days off the bike.

>>> Team Sky faces fine for reduced Abu Dhabi Tour roster

The Olympic team pursuit gold medallist, who is switching to the road full-time this season, said that the weight loss was part of the reason he isn’t yet back to the level of form he had before the Tour Down Under.

Owain Doull and Elia Viviani sign on for Team Sky at the start of the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour. Photo: ANSA/Claudio Peri
(Image credit: ANSA/Claudio Peri)

He said: “Some of the weight loss was fat some of it was muscle so I’m back to a good level, it's just mixing in the threshold and stuff like that [that’s difficult]. I have been doing hard efforts, I’m just not very good at them.”

He said he expected it would take him a further two weeks to recover to the level he had found in January.

“Two weeks ago I was doing an hour ride and last week I did 6.45 without too much stress, it’s coming back pretty quick,” he said.

Doull had originally been set to kick off the classics season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne this weekend but his programme has been changed to include the Abu Dhabi Tour as he and Sky “take it day-by-day” with his recovery.

“It’s coming back day-by-day, every training block we do we see an improvement… We’ll see how this race goes. If I come out of this race well then I should hopefully slot back in with the Classics team.”

If Doull does slot back into Sky’s classics group, which includes fellow Welshman Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard, as soon as he hopes then his first race with them will likely be E3 Harelbeke on March 24.

Doull, who rode for Team Wiggins on the road in 2015 and 2016 in the build-up to the Rio Olympics, said he was adjusting well to a full time road career, though he said: “It’s different, it’s good though. Every day you ride your bike you’re doing it for a purpose.”

He said there was less baseline conditioning work and more race-level fitness work in his training now, which felt rewarding.

Doull said that even though this is his first year in road cycling’s highest category he hoped to get some glory for himself at some point.

“I’d like to win something to be honest, that’s one of the goals, in a small HC-level race like the Tour of Britain or something like that,” he said.

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, world championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the middle east. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.