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Froome suffered bilharzia reinfection at the Tour de France, ISN owner says

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) at the Tour de France
Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) at the Tour de France (Image credit: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)

Chris Froome suffered a return of the parasitic worm disease bilharzia during the 2021 season, according to Israel Start-Up Nation owner Sylvan Adams.

The four-time Tour de France winner suffered a reoccurrence of the disease during the Tour, where he finished 133rd three years after his last appearance at the race.

Froome had suffered from the disease, which is usually spread by contact with fresh water contaminated with the parasite, intermittently during the early years of his pro career, and received the all-clear back in late 2013.

Froome confirmed to Cyclingnews last week at the Israel Start-Up Nation 'homecoming' camp in Israel that he had been suffering with illness during the Tour but denied that he had been suffering from bilharzia.

"I think a lot of that was dealing with a bit of health issues I've been having throughout the Tour, and gut issues," he told Cyclingnews. "But yeah, I've certainly been feeling a lot better towards the end of the year and hopefully I'll be able to build on that going into the new season now."

However, team owner Sylvan Adams confirmed in an interview with Velonews at the same camp that Froome had suffered from bilharzia this year.

"Chris Froome had some medical issues this season, and he was completely blocked during the Tour de France," Adams said. "At the Tour, he told me that this year's Tour de France was more difficult than any Tour he'd ever done before. He was expending massive amounts of energy."

Froome later confirmed that he had been diagnosed and treated for the parasite. After the Tour de France, he returned to racing at the Deutschland Tour and continued racing until the autumn Classics in Italy.

He told Cyclingnews that he saw progress during the latter part of the season, which included a notable role in helping teammate Michael Woods take ninth place at Milano-Torino.

"I've definitely seen some big progressions in the second half of the season after the Tour. I've certainly felt better in the end-of-season races than I did earlier on," he said.

"The biggest aim for me right now is just to try to get back to a physical level where I can feel competitive again because obviously I haven't been there this year. I've been able to do jobs for the team, but I haven't been up where I wanted to be. So, I'm going to keep working for that and hope that I can get back into the game."

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