Archive for VDB

Flecha superb, Guesdon amazing, Haussler good

Juan Antonio Flecha points towards the heavens in a tribute to his former team mate at Fassa Bortolo the late Frank VDB

It is something I thought I would never see, the manager of a British team hugging the winner of a major race. Juan Antonio Flecha crossed the line in Gent with his trademark bow and arrow victory salute then grabbed the Sky logo on his jersey and finally rolled to a halt beside a stunned looking David Brailford.

I watched the last 70km of Het Nieuwsblad on the computer and it was all good stuff. Boonen launched a massive attack on the Taaienberg to get a good gap and then cruised up the Molenberg to allow a select few to rejoin but there was then a general regrouping. A number of the favourites suffered misfortune including Nick Nuyens who punctured and later had to wait a long time for a bike change when in the Flecha group. Phillippe Gilbert slid off on a corner and Boonen punctured and took a wheel from a team mate. Eventually we had Gilbert, Roelandts (both Lotto), Flecha and the amazing Frederic Guesdon who had been away in a four man break since km ten at the front. On the last section of cobbles Gilbert attacked but Flecha got across and then jumped the Belgian who was later rejoined by Roelandts and Guesdon.  In the bunch, which was just 40 sec. behind Flecha with 10km to go, only Haussler wanted to race. He put a little team mate on the front pulling the bunch along for miles and then Haussler attacked after Gilbert etc were caught. He gained a few seconds but was re-caught in the finishing straight but still hung on for a podium place.

Flecha’s race was flawless, he did everything just right and Haussler was truly impressive if, as usual, unable to conserve his energy. But for me the man of the race was Guesdon. In the finale there was no evidence of his race long exploit and he was at least the equal of Roelandts and probably Gilbert also.

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VDB’s bike for sale

Nico Mattan is to arrange the auction of Frank Vandenbroucke’s bike to meet the cost of repatriating his body.

Mattan is organizing the auction, which will take place over several weeks, at the request of the family of VDB. The cyclist appears not to have travel insurance to cover the substantial expense of returning the body to Belgium.

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Frank who?

VBD flowers

VDB

One of the regulars at the tea stop, a cyclist and time tester for almost fifty years, was this morning wearing a Cofidis racing jersey. Are you wearing that as a tribute to Frank Vandenbroucke I asked. Who’s he ? was the response!  More evidence that you can never overestimate the insularity of clock bashers.

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VDB 1974-2009

I always had a soft spot for Frank for no better reason than he was raised in Ploegsteert. This is the infamous Plug Street well known to British tommies and particularly N.Z. and Aussie soldiers during the First World War battles of the Ieper Salient. I have been to the Tyne Cot military cemetery a few times and on each occasion I drove through Ploegsteert on the off chance of seeing Frank but I never did. I suppose during  later years I should have popped in the local bar.

The photos are from HLN and show that despite his playboy reputation Frank could do the necessary hard work.

VDB marriageVDB training

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Frank Vandenbroucke speaks

vdb2

VDB is in Mendrisio not as a rider but as a “journalist” and I like what he writes:

Sunday will be a “slaughterhouse”. I think that we Belgians will do well not to expect too much. If you count on nothing and there is something in the air, then you always feel good about it.

This Sunday after nineteen laps there are no secrets. Everyone has the same route knowledge. All that counts is the language of the pedals. I fear that by then we Belgians will be silenced.

Spot on Frank.

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Vandenbroucke says his clean win was the best

Frank Vandenbroucke has given an interview to a Belgian “lads” magazine that, not surprisingly, features Frank’s views on doping. This is what the former superstar had to say:                                                                    When I became a pro in 1994 new doping products were of course in the peleton, introduced by the so-called pioneers. That sure, everybody knows. Furlan, Berzin, Argentin … at a given moment ten miles per hour faster than the rest. I have never had an opportunity to be a pioneer for a new kind of doping, the first to try. The interviewer thought Frank regretted that he had not been a “pioneer  “But of course, they had the chance to try out a new treatment. Unfortunately I never had that chance.   Yes I had class. Yes, I was born to win and take prizes. In 1994, when I was just nineteen,I won a stage of the Tour of the Mediterranean Sea. (Frank says he won on Mont Faron but this is not correct, he won the following stage) beating Davide Cassani and Berzin. Those guys had a hematocrit value of 60. Mine was 42! That I won was incredible! My greatest achievement was not the victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but that on Mont Faron. Because then I fought with unequal resources. They were prepared by doctor Michele Ferrari and Luigi Cecchini while I raced on bread and water.

Referring to his 1999 win in L-B-L Frank said that although he was doped it was a fair win as all the top five were also! Michael Boogerd, who was second, has insisted that he was clean and Frank is talking rot.

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