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Neo-pro to start TDU days after appendectomy

Neo-pro Michael Storer (Team Sunweb) will make his WorldTour debut at the Tour Down Under just days after emergency appendicitis surgery.

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ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) — It’s going to take more than an appendectomy to stop neo-pro Michael Storer from making his WorldTour debut in a Sunweb jersey.

The 20-year-old confirmed he will race Tuesday’s opening stage at the Santos Tour Down Under just days after having his appendix removed in emergency surgery.

“I am feeling like myself again,” he said after a training ride Monday. “Yes, I’ll take the start.”

It’s been a wild week for Storer, who signed a two-year deal to join Team Sunweb for 2018-2019 following an impressive under-23 season last year. On January 7, he raced to 34th in the Australia elite men’s national championship road race.

What he thought was a post-race upset stomach last Monday turned out to be something more serious. A trip to the doctor’s office revealed he was suffering acute appendicitis. Surgery was advised, and before he knew it, he was lighter by one appendix.

“It was a big surprise for me having my appendix taken out,” Storer said on the team’s website. “After the national road race on Sunday, I had typical gastro symptoms and thought it must have just been from the race or something I ate. The pain went away a bit and then came back badly midday on Monday so the team decided to get me to see the doctor. This was a good decision because those extra precautionary steps meant the problem got sorted really quickly and in an early stage of appendicitis. If the appendix had ruptured I wouldn’t be in a position to consider racing the Tour Down Under.”

Team officials said there is no pressure on Storer to race and they will monitor his recovery, but surgery went so well he will have the green light to race Tuesday.