New Zealand cyclist Julian Dean (Credit Agricole) has undergone an operation to remove his gall bladder and appendix after dropping out of last week's Trust House Classic (Tour of Wellington) complaining of abdominal pain.
Dean withdrew from the race after the third stage and was taken to Wellington Hospital for tests. On Saturday he went under the knife and was discharged on Tuesday, according to stuff.co.nz. He is now recovering at home in Rotorua.
"It was just an intense pain in my stomach that I had already had and I thought I had better get to a doctor," Dean told NZPA on Tuesday. "They ran a couple of tests and suggested I get taken care of immediately."
"It could've gone away, but it can also explode and get worse as well. There was always the chance it could have receded and I would never have had the problem again, but it's a risk to take and I didn't want to have problems later in the year with the Tour de France on the cards."
Dean is no stranger to medical problems. In 2005 he spent two months off the bike with a broken elbow sustained in the Giro d'Italia. In 2004 he famously turbo-trained his way back to fitness and a place in Credit Agricole's Tour de France team after breaking both arms. He's not planning any more medical holidays.
"Nothing, that's it. It's finished," Dean said of the prospect of more hospital visits. "This is difficult, but not as difficult as some of the things I've had to deal with over the last couple of years. My team were very understanding and supportive and said to take my time. They want to make sure I come back healthy and strong and the Tour de France is the main objective."
Dean was scheduled to return to Europe Tuesday, but now plans to travel on February 10. His doctors have told him he will make a full recovery and should be fit to ride in a bout a week.