In the world of cycling, there are laymen and there are gods. Like in any sport, a small group of untouchables hover above the rest and achieve greatness amongst mankind.
Chris Froome is a part of that elite club. An idol amongst the millions of cyclists around the world, he won the Tour de France in 2013, 2015, and 2016. He’s currently the most successful stage-racing riders of the era.
Froome was born in Nairobi, Kenya. His athletic career began when he was young; at the age of 13, he won his first cycling event and met his future mentor, David Kinjah. A year later, he moved to South Africa. There, he competed as a road racer specializing in climbing. He trained throughout his teen years and turned professional in 2007 when he reached the age of 22.
At the beginning of Froome’s professional career, he joined the Union Cycliste Internationale’s World Cycling Centre based in Switzerland. With them, he placed in a series of stage races across the globe. In 2008, he joined the UCI Professional Continental team, Barloworld. It was with them that he made the squad for the Tour de France. In his first year, he placed 84th overall and 11th amongst young riders.
It was at this time that Froome continued to improve and attract the attention of coaching and cycling enthusiasts. Over the next year, he won more major titles in races across Europe and Africa. Due to his success, he made the move to join the British cycling team, Team Sky, for the 2010 season.
Froome experienced a major breakthrough in 2011. It is speculated that this is largely due to a disease he was found to have called bilharzia, or schistosomiasis, which is caused by parasitic flatworms. After treatment, his performance times greatly improved. In October of 2011, he finished third in the first edition of the Tour of Beijing only 26 seconds behind the overall winner.
Unfortunately, Froome’s infection returned in 2012. This, plus a series of crashes, set him back and impeded his victories. Despite these roadblocks, Froome continued to place in competitive races throughout the year. However, it was in 2013 that his name became well-known. Although he experienced several difficulties throughout the arduous race, he ultimately came out the winner with a final time of 83 hours, 56 minutes, and 40 seconds. This was 4 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of the second-place winner. In October of 2013, he was named the winner of the Velo d’Or award for the best rider of the year.
Froome was off to a successful start in 2014 winning the Tour of Oman and the Tour de Romandie. However, when the time came for him to again participate in the Tour de France, he fell three times over the course of two days and lost significant time. This caused him to place second overall to winner Alberto Contador. In 2015, however, he came back with a Tour de France Victory. He won again in 2016 and became Britain’s first ever three-time Tour de France winner.
The history of this incredible rider’s career is a testament to the hard work that it takes for renowned figures in the cycling world to climb to the top. Chris Froome can serve as an example to us all of what consistency, hard work, and passion can accomplish.