As British rider Chris Froome stormed to his second Tour de France title in Paris on Sunday, here’s a look at the 30-year-old Team Sky leader’s glorious cycle...
Born in Nairobi on May 20, 1985, Froome represented Kenya at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, where he caught the attention of British Cycling chiefs Sir Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton, who learned he was eligible to represent Great Britain through his English father and maternal grandparents.
Great Britain’s Chris Froome of Team Sky wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, rides in the hills during Stage 10 of the Tour de France cycling race near Tarbes, southwestern France recently.
He was one of six Britons announced as the first signings for Team Sky in September 2009, after completing his first Tour de France for Barloworld in 2008, placing 84th overall and 12th in the U-25 young riders’ competition. Brailsford identified his potential. Early struggles at Team Sky,
including poor displays in 2010 and early 2011, were eventually attributed to bilharzia, a parasitic disease contracted after fishing in an African lake. He was able to manage it and, after lengthy treatment, given the all clear in late 2013.
Chris Froome atop the podium after winning his second Tour De France title in Paris on Sunday. Pics/AFP
Froome finished second in the Vuelta a Espana, 13 seconds behind winner Juan Jose Cobo. Things might have been different had Froome shown consistency beforehand as Team Sky backed Bradley Wiggins, who recovered from a broken collarbone sustained in the Tour de France to finish third. Froome earned a lucrative new contract as a result, when prior to the race an exit appeared likely.
Second in command
A win on stage seven of the 2012 Tour to La Planche des Belles Filles was a reason for a double celebration as Wiggins took the race leader's yellow jersey. Controversy erupted when Froome accelerated away from team leader Wiggins on stage 11 to La Toussuire. He was called back by team orders, but it marked a fracture in the duo’s relationship. Froome went on
to finish second as Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour.
Froome may have lost the battle, but he won the war to succeed Wiggins as Team Sky's leader. He fully justified the call by Brailsford by winning three stages and becoming the second British Tour winner in 2013. This was despite the 100th edition of the race being the first since Lance Armstrong was stripped of his record seven titles for doping, leaving Froome to face numerous doping questions.
Innuendo and interrogations followed Froome’s dominant win on the opening Pyrenees stage of the 2015 Tour to La Pierre-Saint-Martin, a legacy of the drug-riddled era of cycling. Froome remained calm under intense provocation, rationally explaining his performance as his detractors continued to strike out, with one roadside spectator dousing him in urine. He continued to perform on the bike and sealed a memorable win.