Israel Start-up Nation officials have told VeloNews that Chris Froome was treated for a flare-up of bilharzia earlier this season, which the four-time Tour de France champion subsequently confirmed.
Froome initially battled the disease – which is also known as schistosomiasis and is caused by a parasitic worm – in 2010 at the start of his competitive cycling career. He apparently dealt with it again this season.
“He tested positive for bilharzia, took the medication for it, he’s now negative for it, and went on to have a good finish to the season,” Sylvan Adams, co-founder and owner of the Israel Start-up Nation team, told VeloNews. “He immediately started to show improvement in his numbers, and we are optimistic we will see the old Chris Froome again, and he can be up there and contend for the Grand Tours.”
Doctors reportedly posited that the parasitic worm could have been dormant over the past decade before flaring up again, apparently in the middle of the season. Froome said elsewhere that he was bothered by digestive issues this year. He underwent a series of tests after the Tour de France, and bilharzia was ultimately determined to be the cause of his health issues.
Froome himself confirmed that he had been diagnosed with another bout with the disease, but reportedly preferred to avoid going into detail so as not to be seen as “making excuses.” He said that he underwent a successful treatment and has since recovered.
Froome spent several days last week in Israel at a team camp as he prepares for his 2022 campaign, which will mark his second year with the team.