Tuesday, October 13, 2009

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."



  1. Fame may well indeed be ephemeral, but like most things it is a relative thing.

    I somehow think that, like Il Pirata, VDB will be spoken of for many years to come (a fleeting moment on the geographical or cosmological scale, but a good deal of time form modern day cycling fans ;-)

    I hope that a good portion of those discussions are focussed on his style on the bike, the deceptive ease of his pedal stroke that belied the sheer and awesome power that he was able to put down, and his fantastic victories; and not on his darker and more embarrassing moments (let's not mention his sick dog shall we?).

    Yes he doped, but he gave us so much more than that and his epitaph should reflect that.

  2. Compassion for VDB20 October, 2009 23:26

    Michael, I agree with what you write and hope that VDB is remembered with some compassion and respect. The key point starting to emerge is that those who were caught doping during a certain era (during which VDB was certainly active) were NOT isolated loners, but rather, as Fank himself said, part of an entire peloton that was charged to the gills!

  3. Well, like with the passing of Marco Pantani – found dead in similar circumstances in February 2004 – Vandenbroucke's death was shocking, but not surprising, such has been the self-destructive trail he has blazed since he was first busted for drug-taking 10 years ago - IMHO.

    His uncle Jean-Luc, who managed him when he turned professional in 1994 (before VDB flicked him!), summed up the feelings of many in the milieu: "a half-surprise, unfortunately".


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