Chris Froome is a Kenyan born British professional cyclist and the winner of the 2013 ‘Tour de France’. He raced as a teenager and left college early to become a professional cyclist at the age of 22, supporting his team mates in a background role as domestique. Despite his early successes and unique physiology he was seen as a somewhat inconsistent performer until it was revealed that he had been battling the parasitic disease schistosomiasis throughout most of his early career. With his condition treated and more under control, he rapidly rose to take the lead in three stage races in a single year, including the prestigious ‘Tour de France’. Because his ‘Tour de France’ win came the year after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal received media attention, he fell under rigorous scrutiny for illegal doping but his tests and medical records proved he was clean. Currently Froome has a contract with the British racing squad ‘Team Sky’, and continues to set records with his powerful performances. He is also an Olympic medalist for his performance in time trials, and is currently the defending champion in multiple world recognized races including the ‘Tour de Oman’ and the ‘Tour de Romandie’.
Childhood & Early Life
Chris Froome was born on May 20, 1985, in Nairobi, Kenya. His father was a professional hockey player representing Britain and his mother's family had emigrated from England to run a crop farm in Kenya.
At the age of 13 his mother took him to participate in his first bike race, which was a charity event that he won. At that race he met David Kinjah, Kenya's most prominent cyclist, who became Froome's mentor and training partner.
At the age of 14 he went to South Africa to study at ‘St John's College’ in Johannesburg, and later studied economics at the ‘University of Johannesburg’. While in South Africa he began participating in road cycling and specialized in climbing.
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In 2007, Froome abandoned his degree in economics to become a professional bike racer with the South African team, Konica Minolta. He rode his first single race in May, winning stage five of the ‘Giro delle Regioni’, and competed in multiple time trials and circuits throughout the year.
After his breakaway debut performance, in 2008 he met South African cyclist Robbie Hunter, who introduced him to the ‘UCI Continental team’, Barloworld. He signed with them for their upcoming season and became the first Kenyan participant in the ‘Tour de France’ with the Barloworld squad, finishing 84th overall and 11th among the young rider classification.
During this time Froome caught the eye of British Cycling coach, Rod Ellingworth, and the two discussed the possibility of Froome representing Britain.
In March of 2009 Froome claimed his first professional win on the second stage of the ‘Giro del Capo’ in Durbanville, South Africa, finishing four minutes ahead of the competition. In September of that year it was announced that he would join the British cycling team, ‘Team Sky’, for their upcoming season.
Froome rode the 2010 season with ‘Team Sky’, and finished second in the national time trial championships that year. He raced the ‘Giro d'Italia’ for ‘Team Sky’ but was unable to finish the race because of a knee injury.
In 2011, he delivered several powerhouse performances, including top 15 finishes in the ‘Vuelta a Castilla y León’ and the ‘Tour de Romandie’. He entered the ‘Vuelta a España’ as the main domestique to Bradley Wiggins and cemented a solid second overall finish, for his team, outperforming Wiggins in some stages.
After the Vuelta it was publicly revealed that he suffered from the parasitic disease schistosomiasis, and may have been combating it throughout his entire early career. Despite his illness, he signed a three year contract with ‘Team Sky’.
Froome's early 2012 season was wracked with his battles against his illness. Despite a rocky start, he was selected to participate with his team in that year's ‘Tour de France’. He again rode domestique to Bradley Wiggins and went on to finish second overall to Wiggins' first, together becoming the first two British riders in history to take the podium of the ‘Tour de France’.
In 2013 the ‘Tour de Oman’ was his first stage race win and went on to take the ‘Tour de Romandie’, but they were just warm ups for his stunning ‘Tour de France’ win. He won the general classification on July 21 with a final time of 83 hours, 56 minutes and 40 seconds, more than four minutes ahead of second place.
As this tour was the first one raced since Lance Armstrong's scandalous doping admission, Froome was faced with doping suspicions in the media and was tested 19 times throughout the race.
He began his 2014 season as defending champion in the ‘Tour de Oman’ and the ‘Tour de Romandi’e, both of which he won for a second time. He also raced in the ‘Tour de France’ again and ultimately took overall second.
In 2013 Froome began his season with his first stage race win, and went on to score two more that year. Together with Bradley Wiggins he was the first British racer to stand on the ‘Tour de France’ podium.
Awards & Achievements
In October 2013, Froome took home ‘Vélo d'Or’ magazines prestigious ‘Best Rider of the Year’ award. Established in the 90s, this coveted award is given annually to the best performing cyclist.
Personal Life & Legacy
Froome is married to Michelle Cound, a Welsh-born South African. The two met in South Africa and then moved to Monaco before getting married in November 2014.
This famous cyclist is also well known as a powerful climber and in his early career he often supported his team members through mountainous stages. His expert defense and support during the 2012 ‘Tour de France’ earned him the media nickname of ‘super-domestique’.