Cycling: Troubled Belgian cyclist Vandenbroucke found dead at 34

13th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Belgian cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke has died at the age of 34, a source close to the racer told AFP.

The source did not speculate on the cause of death, saying only that his body was found in a Senegalese hotel room where he had been holidaying.

However, Vandenbroucke suffered from depression and tried to commit suicide two years ago after his wife said she was divorcing him.

Belgian media suggested the rider had suffered a pulmonary embolism.
"Sadly this has only partly come as a surprise, for we knew he was not doing too well," said his uncle, former racer Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke.

"He was up and down, both in terms of his health and his morale. He left for Senegal on Sunday."

Frank Vandenbroucke made his professional debut in 1994 and recorded 51 victories, including the 1999 Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic, his career highlight.

In 2002, Vandenbroucke was twice stopped by police and discovered to be under the influence of alcohol at the wheel of a car. In another incident that year, a police search at his home uncovered a large quantity of doping substances.

In 2003, when he rode for the Quick Step team, Vandenbroucke appeared to be making a comeback after a second place finish in the prestigious Tour of Flanders.

However, despite a promising start to the 2004 season, hopes of a sustained comeback were cut short and he sank further into depression.


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