Froome and the criminal worms

It was not normal for Chris Froome, with four Tours, two Vueltas and a Giro behind him, to arrive in Paris on July 18, 4 hours and 12 minutes behind Tadej Pogacar in an anonymous 133rd place overall. And neither that he had not been seen or in a getaway; never in the distinguished positions of the platoon. The best result is the 72nd place achieved in the 15th stage, the one that arrived in Andorra.

In the Tour, for being the rider who had achieved four wins and the only one who so far aspires to the fifth victory of Anquetile, Merckx, Hinault and Indurain, captured the images of television many days. But it was always the same shot, in which you saw Froome drop off the first ramp or criminal acceleration in the pack.

Was it normal for an entire test champion to suffer so much? How could it be that this cyclist who had dominated France was so bad? He never spoke of retirement and did not even seek an excuse for the serious crash he suffered in 2019 in training during the Dauphiné Critérium, a race he has won three times. In July, he was attending the press and from time to time he spoke of “intestinal problems”. But nothing else. He was not a runner looking for excuses to defend such a weak level of cycling.

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Now it has been known. There was a pathological reason for his poor performance: the worms, the parasites that moved through his intestine. Froome has suffered this year the harmful effects of schistosomiasis, a common parasitic disease in sub-Saharan Africa, which came to America in the slave trade, which affects 200 million people and kills 200,000 infected each year. However, he has treatment, to the point that the British cyclist has already overcome the disease.

Froome the entire Tour was blocked because of the parasites. He told us that it was his most difficult Tour and that he was spending much more energy than in any of the ones he had played before. It was not normal”, he explains to the portal ‘Cyclingnews’ Sylvan Adams, owner of the Israel Up-Nation team, which leads Froome, and that he’s a bike-mad billionaire.

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These last days Froome and his teammates have been promoting cycling for Israel. There the British runner, who had already suffered from the disease at the beginning of the last decade and who could have caught it by drinking water on one of his regular visits to Kenya (where he was born) or South Africa (where he lived), only admitted that this parasitic disease “could be the source of my intestinal problems on the Tour”.

“At the end of this season Chris he began to feel much better, coinciding with the negative tests for schistosomiasis, and his performance visibly improved. He was very happy to have helped his Canadian partner Michael Woods to qualify ninth in Milan-Turin, and he is still very happy because he thinks the ‘old’ Froome will come back”, he adds adams.

The old’ Froome He is the one who refuses to get off the bike, the one who did not hide when he crossed the Tour finish lines much further behind than could be expected and the one who has signed a cycling season that is already a compliment to describe as discreet. And it’s also the Froome who does not give up the dream of a new Tour, a goal that is classified as epic, practically an impossible mission with the 37 years he will be in July and before an army of young protesters led by Pogacar.

“Now I just want to try to be the same as before. That’s my goal for next year. I want to be competitive again because I haven’t been in my position in 2021. I’ve helped the team. But it wasn’t my level,” he stresses. Froome to the portal ‘Velonews’. So far, he has already defeated the criminal worms.

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