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