VDB to be interred tomorrow – Sporza.be VDB portal is … appropriate

 Ciao, VDB.

Paul De Geyter: “Only Frank knows the truth”

Wie zeker niet zal ontbreken op Vdb’s begrafenis is Paul De Geyter, zijn manager en vertrouwensman. Who will definitely not lacking in Vdb The Geyter Paul’s funeral, his manager and trustee. De Geyter is ook peter van Margaux, Vdb’s tweede dochter. The Geyter is also godfather of Margaux, Vdb’s second daughter. “Alleen Frank weet wat er echt gebeurd is”, zegt die in Het Nieuwsblad. “Only Frank knows what really happened”, says in Het Nieuwsblad.
“Ik praatte van de week met advocaat Luc Deleu, die Senegal goed kent. Hij zei: “Waar Frank uitging, durf ik niet alleen te gaan. “I talked to the lawyer Luc Deleu week, who knows well Senegal. He said:” Where Frank went out, I dare not go alone. Dat is miserie zoeken.”” This search is misery. “
“Waarschijnlijk had Frank te veel gedronken. En dan was hij een gemakkelijke prooi voor dat soort personages. Zo was ook zijn levensloop.’ “Frank was probably too much to drink. And then he was an easy prey for such characters. This was his life.”

‘Zelfmoord sluit ik helemaal uit. Suicide I close completely. Dat is een fabeltje. That is a myth. Dat leid ik af uit dingen die hij onlangs vertelde, voor hij naar Senegal vertrok. This I infer from things he said recently, before he left for Senegal. Hij had een nieuw huis en ik had nog tegels liggen die hij zou komen halen, bijvoorbeeld.” He had a new house and I had tiles lying he would get, for example. “

This remains the best VDB tribute video…hauntingly beautiful.

In Memory of VDB (UPDATED)

Frank Vandenbroucke (VDB) was a controversial figure in the world of cycling – but you didn’t need me to tell you that… Why he was controversial is splattered all over the internet, but not everyone thinks he was an asshole, I know, and some of you are truly moved by an utterly pointless and tragic death. I know I am – and not least of all because several of the demons that VDB publicly revealed as having tormented him have pushed against my door on occasion since 2006.

“VDB Tributes” have already started to appear on Youtube, and dozens of blogger’s have commented on the senseless death of a brilliant athlete who lived what seemed to be, in some ways, a tortured existence – which at times he may have made worse by his own hand. Other cyclists have died in the last several years, including Valentino Fois, but for me personally VDB’s passing is utterly too close for comfort and at times a legitimately haunting event. The fact that Fois, Marco Pantani, VDB and I were all close in age (34) makes this more “real” than it might otherwise be. I’m no longer the wide-eyed 19 year-old living it up in Monte Carlo thanks to cycling, wondering exactly how high up “the sky’s the limit” meant I might soar.

Reality being what it is, at least I’m still alive, but the aforementioned are not (plus José María Jiménez, Jobie Dajka, Luca Gelfi, Christophe Dupouey, and Thierry Claveyrolat – to name just a few). If you think VDB’s death was inevitable, or you don’t care, or you can’t be bothered – no worries – this post isn’t for you. But for those so inclined, I want to collect here and publish your video clips, verse, haiku, photo collages, stories, and any other work you create to memorialize VDB as a cyclist, father, boy, human…

If you have anything to share, please let me know and send it (even if it’s just a “heads up” towards another link). Though this isn’t a contest, I’ll endeavour to recognize some of the most-exceptional submissions with something of value and appropriateness, in appreciation for the complex investment that goes into composing something in memory of Frank Vandenbroucke.

Eentries will be evaluated by me and several other colleagues in the cycling world, including journalists, editors, industry-types, etc. I’m not naming the panel though, because I don’t want them to be subjected to harassment in the forums or grief from their own employers or associates. Though 99.9% of you would never stoop to such a level, the 0.1% that would have a habit of making noise like a whiny, spoiled child. Some pretty amazing people are behind this, and while I don’t expect 100 responses, if you’ve ever been tempted to do a video montage, give VDB the honor.

To quote a very well-known member of the cycling press corps who provided me with valuable feedback on how best to convey my sentiments here, this isn’t “a morbid exercise in schadenfreude,” so don’t come here with that expectation or intent. This also is not an attempt to drive traffic to the site. Rather, I’m quite saddened by VDB’s passing, and I want to offer those who feel the same a place where their efforts can be collected, published, watched, read or listened to; and for those with an artistic flair who go the extra mile, I want to offer something beyond “thanks”, some kind of award. If I had a signed piece of VDB memorabilia, I would give it to the creator of the most compelling piece… And so that we’re clear, the fact that Frank Vandenbroucke may have implied or admitted to being doped is irrelevant in the context of this post, on this blog. What’s salient is all that VDB was, what he could have been, and yet never will.

Now, with no further adieu, and in no particular order, I’ll post the submissions as they arrive (let me know if you want a public credit or not). Oh, but before I do, if you’re a cyclist and you’re reading this and you think you might be depressed, you may find “A Cyclist’s Guide to Depression” from VeloNews to be of value.

In Memory of VDB

VDB Limerick: 
“There once was a Belgian namedFranky
Bolnde hair crooked nose and lanky.
This Wallone he spoke Dutch
but it didn’t matter that much.
He could win most races of his choosing.”

VDB Video Tribute:

VDB Poem: 
“Tainted blood, broken body, spirit, mind –
Become dust, swept into the cobbles,
Soon to be forgotten.

All is ephemeral – fame and the famous as well.”

VDB Haiku:
Silken on the bike,
VDB ascends la Redoute –
Still, grayness remains.

Ed Hood writes an amazing piece at Pez, for Pez…that we link to below.

“RIP VDB” said the text from John Stollery, waiting for me, when I woke up; there were others too, from Dave and Stevie, all expressing sadness – for all his faults, he was a hard man to dislike. He was just 34, cause of death is cited as a ‘blood clot.’

Frank Vandenbroucke could hardly have been anything else but a pro cyclist – his dad was a pro and his uncle, Jean Luc, was a junior world champion and pro road star. Belgian novice champion in 1991; junior champion in ’92, “Franky Boy” moved seamlessly through the ranks…



Just Weeks Ago VDB Was Training with the Belgian National Team in Mendrisio

Just a few weeks ago, Frank Vandenbrouke accompanied the Belgian team on a training ride at the Mendrisio, Switzerland world championship venue.VDB was captured on film in Mendrisio in this image by Sirotti, which I pulled from the original website in order to add a border to the photo:

A whole host of other VDB photo albums can be seen here on Picasa. Wonder if they’ll be pulled down? Belgium is divided linguistically, politically and socially between the northern, Dutch-speaking Flemish and the southern, French-speaking Walloons. Vandenbroucke’s family was unusual in being Walloon but living in Flanders and speaking Dutch in daily life. Does it matter now? Not for VDB.

“Tainted blood, broken body, spirit, mind –
Become dust, swept into the cobbles,
Soon to be forgotten.
All is ephemeral – fame and the famous as well.”

Frank Vandenbroucke, RIP (updated with video)

This just plain sucks. Translated article from the European press here.

Belgian dies on holiday in Senegal

Frank Vandenbroucke has died while on holiday in Senegal. Reports in Belgium have said that 34-year-old Belgian cyclist was found in his hotel room and that early reports indicate that he died of a blood clot.

Vandenbroucke was out of contract after leaving Cinelli-Down Under but was looking for a team in 2010 just a few weeks ago.

He turned pro in 1994 with Lotto and won an epic Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1999, along with two stages in the Vuelta that year. In a two-year winning streak he also won Paris-Nice, Het Volk and Gent-Wevelgem riding for Mapei and Cofidis.

However, his career was not without controversy. He was questioned by police for drunk driving and possession of doping products and despite numerous comebacks he never reached the heights of 1999. He also suffered from depression and tried to commit suicide after his wife said she would divorce him.

Vandenbroucke in the 1999 Vuelta a España
Part 1 in a series of VDB interviews