Thank god for Cyclingnews.com (never thought I’d say that after 2006), which had the decency to cover the funeral of VDB yesterday. Velonews.com, however, couldn’t be bothered to even note that VDB was interred in the family crypt and finally put to rest.
I happened to have an 11 year-old copy of VeloNews by my desk, because it was the first one in which my writing was paid for and published. And ironically, that issue also contained the 1998 Paris-Nice coverage. Well, needless to say, we know who won: VDB – but if you read the article, and the headlines from that issue of VN, and then compared it to the disdain, disrespect and utter contempt with which VN covered VDB’s death, if you are a fan of the sport, it’s traditions and know of the world before The Lance, I would hope that their conducts disgusts and revolts you, or at least makes you angry.
Fine, Cyclingnews did a great job covering the funeral. But VeloNews – CN’s erst-while competitor – didn’t even mention it!!! That ****es me off to no end. Irrational or not, it really ****es me off. In fact, despite all of the ongoing VDB-like drama in my own life (Which I thankfully keep behind closed doors), I spent an hour last night writing a letter to “The Editor” at VN taking them to task for the coverage they gave VDB when they described him as “Belgium’s new star *Vandenbroucke* unbeatable in Race to the Sun.” (VeloNews Volume 27, Number 5, March 30, 1998)
Classic media opportunism…they devote hundreds of words to VDB when they want to crown him king-apparent, then, eleven years later, with his brilliance long-since tarnished by hardly-unusual scrapes with the doping police, and a fall from grace made ten-times worse by the mental illness from which VDB clearly suffered – the hijos de putas editing VeloNews on the weekends can’t even note on their webpage that he had finally been laid to rest (and honored a who’s-who of Belgian cycling, including Van Petegem, Museeuw and Patrick Lefevere).
If you want to read what I wrote and see the pictures, click here. If you’re so inclined, use my letter as a template for writing your own, chastising VN. And if you think they did they RIGHT thing, or don’t care about VDB and you feel like sharing that with me, bring it on: joe-at-joepapp-dot-com. Only in the cycling “press” in the United States would the funeral of a just-dead 34 year old former star of professional cycling not even be noted…
The Blogs did a better job covering and commenting on VDB’s passing. Take this entry from Whacksonville.