Former Tour de France winner Chris Froome had a tough few months as he struggles with long COVID.
He first contracted the virus during the 2022 Tour de France and was forced to abandon the race after Stage 17. Since then, he’s had issues with an occasional inexplicable racing heartbeat and a VO2 Max that simply won’t bounce back. Now, he wants people to understand the risk of long COVID as he works to make a comeback for next season.
Pro cycling was mostly back in full force for the 2022 season, with travel bans and most restrictions lifted. Teams still tested for COVID-19 regularly during stage races, though, and while races were running, the question became less about who would crash out and be forced to abandon and more about which team would have the first positive COVID test. The Vuelta a España saw a huge chunk of riders out with COVID, and the Tour de France was not immune. Froome, in addition to several other riders, was forced to leave the stage race after testing positive ahead of Stage 18.
He previously warned that COVID is “no joke,” but now, he’s opening up about the long term impact that the virus had on him, and has had on other racers in the pro ranks.
In his latest training video, Froome highlighted his struggles to recover while also living his best life in Miami, where he visited to do a Best Buddies charity ride.
“Everything is starting to work so much better, I'm less sluggish, I have more energy riding,” he explains. “I came out of the season not feeling good on the bike. I really needed a break. Having COVID at the end of the Tour de France really knocked me for six and I just wasn’t able to come back.”
He traveled to Israel-Premier Tech’s home base for some testing, specifically to make sure his VO2 was getting back on track and that his heart was healthy. “There’s definitely a heavy impact on the heart having COVID,” he adds. “It’s not like having the flu, especially not for pro riders I’ve talked to in the peloton—there are a lot of guys really struggling with aftereffects two or three months later, dealing with fatigue, energy levels, strange heart rate readings...”
Froome noted that he’s been cleared as healthy by the doctors he consulted with in Israel, but noted that he is still working to recover his former levels of fitness.
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