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Friday 22 August 2014

Tour de France champ Chris Froome shakes off parasitic infection

Published 13/12/2013 | 08:18

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Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, flashes a thumbs up and a big smile as crosses the finish of the 20th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 125 kilometers (78.1 miles) with start in in Annecy and finish in Annecy-Semnoz, France, Saturday July 20 2013. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)
Christopher Froome during this year's Tour de France

Tour de France winner Chris Froome has shaken off the disease that troubled him during his ascent to the top of world cycling.

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The 28-year-old British rider has suffered from the parasitic infection bilharzia for at least the last four years.

It is usually contracted by coming into contact with contaminated water, with most cases occurring in Africa.

Kenya-born Froome has managed his condition sufficiently well to be able to triumph in cycling's most prestigious tour, but it still came as a relief to learn his body was clear of the disease.

He told The Independent: "At last I am free of the debilitating disease bilharzia. 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 2009].

"That is fantastic news for me. I'm not going to have to worry about that any more. That should be it gone now.

"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 succeeded his fellow Briton Sir Bradley Wiggins as Tour de France champion and will attempt in 2014 to become the first man to win the title back-to-back since the now-disgraced American Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his victories after admitting doping.

Froome told Press Association Sport recently: "I'd like to think if I can go back and do it again it will bring some credibility back to the sport. I know myself that my results aren't going to be stripped, but it will take time before people will see they are going to stand."

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