Cycling: Belgian cyclist found dead in hotel set for autopsy

14th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

An autopsy on Belgian cyclist Franck Vandenbroucke, found dead in his hotel room here on Monday, will take place in the next few days, Senegalese police have announced.

"The autopsy will take place on Wednesday or Thursday in Dakar," a police source revealed on Tuesday, before adding that "we shouldn't lose ourselves in conjecture" over the cause of his death.

The 34-year-old was on holiday with his cyclist friend Fabio Polazzi.

Staff at the seaside hotel where he was staying said he had been drinking and vomited before he died.

His body was found in a room at the hotel, 'La maison bleue', where he checked in at 0200 local time (0000GMT) on Monday.

"When he arrived, he was drunk," a hotel employee told AFP.

"He was with a Senegalese woman. He came for one night and we served him a beer," the employee said, asking not to be named.

"About four in the morning his girlfriend came and asked for a mop because he had been sick," the man said after being interviewed by police.

"By 1pm on Monday he had not come out of his room. About 8pm my boss called me and said the client had died."

In Belgium, family and friends recalled a deeply troubled if talented rider.

"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.

His father Jean-Jacques said Frank had gone on holiday in a happy mood.

"He left in good health, he was beaming because he had found a team for next year," he said. "So we are stunned by the news."

"Frank had perhaps too much talent and a slightly weak character," said all-time great Eddy Merckx.

Le Soir newspaper called him cycling's "enfant terrible ... the James Dean of his generation ... an accursed star impossible to seize."

"An exceptional champion, probably the finest Belgian cyclist since Eddy Merckx, Frank Vandenbroucke lived too fast, without noticing it, on the inebriety of success."


0 Comments To This Article