Chris Froome has revealed that he is now completely clear of the parasitic disease bilharzia, which had affected him intermittently since 2009. The Sky rider struggled in early 2011 and 2012 with the effects of the disease, but recovered sufficiently on each occasion to finish the season strongly.
“At last I am free of the debilitating disease bilharzia," Froome told The Independent. "I had a test when I went back to Kenya recently and it is the first time it has come back negative since the diagnosis [in 2011 – ed.]. That is fantastic news for me. I'm not going to have to worry about that any more. That should be it gone now.”
Froome was laid low with the disease in early 2011 but biltricide treatment allowed him to overcome the worst effects and ride to second place at that year’s Vuelta a España. The parasites remained in his system, however, and Froome was again stricken by illness in early 2012, but re-emerged to place second at that year’s Tour de France.
When Froome was diagnosed with bilharzia in 2011, he was told that he had been afflicted by the parasites since 2009 and that they could remain in his system for up to six years.The disease is carried by fresh water parasites.
“I have been going back every six months for the past two years and returning positive results. When I was first diagnosed they said it had been in my system for at least two years, but it could have been there even longer, five or six years possibly," Froome said.
Froome has previously spoken of his desire to target the Tour de France for the next seven years, reiterated that at 28 years of age, he believes he still has many opportunities ahead of him to add to his palmares.
“I'm going to keep doing it as long as I can, until my body says that's enough,” Froome said. “As long as I have that motivation to keep doing the Tour de France, challenging for the top spot, I'm going to keep doing it. Riders do go on until their forties."