Full name: Frank Vandenbroucke
Nickname(s): VDB / Del Ponte
Height: 5'10" (179 cm)
Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Born: November 6, 1974 in Mouscron, Hainaut, Belgium
Died: October 12, 2009 in Saly Portudal, Thiès, Senegal
Affiliations: Fassa Bortolo, (ITA)
Frank Vandenbroucke was a Belgian road cyclist with remarkable ability but who lived a very troubled life. He turned professional in 1993 with the Belgian Lotto team and won 51 races over the next six years, with his major palmares including Paris-Bruxelles in 1995, Paris-Nice and Ghent-Wevelgem in 1998, and in his best year of 1999, he won the Omloop Het Volk, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and two stages at the Vuelta a España, while also winning the Points Jersey in Spain. But he never won another major race.
Vandenbroucke had several troubled relationships notably a 2000 marriage to former model Sarah Pinacci, which deteriorated into constant fighting. They finally divorced in 2006. Vandenbroucke also began to have difficulty with drugs in 1999, when he was first arrested and released by Paris police. In 2001 he was stopped in a speeding car in Belgium, riding with Dr. Bernard Sainz. Their car was found to be loaded with drugs such as clenbuterol, morphone, and EPO (erythropoietin). He was banned for six months by the Belgian cycling federation, and in 2004, he would admit to taking growth hormone, EPO, steroids, and morphine. He was found guilty in a Belgian court in 2005 and sentenced to 200 hours of community service, which was later commuted to a fine of €250,000. In his 2007 autobiography, Je ne suis pas Dieu, Vandenbroucke admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs, stating, “Everybody did it [used dope], and so did I. It is the truth and it does not diminish the value of my victories.” He also admitted in the book to using multiple recreational drugs. Vandenbroucke also began to suffer from depression, diagnosed for the first time in 2004, and in June 2007, he injected himself with a series of drugs in an unsuccessful suicide attempt, leaving a farewell letter. Knee problems, which hampered his riding ability after 2000, also contributed to his depression. He died while on holiday in Senegal, the official cause listed as a pulmonary embolism.
|1996 Summer||21||Atlanta||Cycling||Men's Road Race, Individual||Belgium||BEL||25|