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Second Edition News for February 28, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
It doesn't look good for VDB
Barring a miracle, the cycling career of Frank Vandenbroucke seems to be over after forbidden drugs were found in his home in Lebbeke. Quantities of erythropoetin (EPO), morphine and clenbuterol were discovered by Belgian police, who were acting on information given to them by VDB's doctor Bernard Sainz.
The police from Erpe-Mere (near Aalst) had pulled Sainz over for doing 28 km/h over the speed limit on the E17 motorway on Wednesday, February 27. Sainz was on his to France after visiting and staying with Vandenbroucke on Tuesday evening. When police found large quantities of amphetamines in his car he explained that they were for Vandenbroucke.
Police from Dendermonde immediately travelled to VDB's home in Lebbeke where they carried out their search. In addition to EPO, morphine and clenbuterol, several as yet unidentified products were found. When Frank returned from training at 6pm, he was taken in for questioning by police, and remained with them throughout Wednesday night. This morning he was brought in handcuffs in front of the judge in Dendermonde.
Being in possession of forbidden products is illegal in Belgium. The judge will decide this afternoon whether Vandenbroucke will be arrested, and Bernard Sainz has already been arrested.
Reactions so far from Vandenbroucke's colleagues have been of disbelief and amazement at his stupidity. His Domo-Farm Frites team have already taken him off their roster on the team's website. A statement from the team indicates that there will be a press conference given this afternoon by the team management. "In the meantime, we ask all fans for serenity. It is pointless to send questions to us as long we don't have any news. More info this afternoon."
Belgian national coach José De Cauwer was critical of Vandenbroucke, who was involved in a similar affair in 1999. He called it "A real disaster. Especially for Vandenbroucke, but also for the staff around him and for Belgian cycling in general. VDB made this fault on his own. You can not blame Domo and all the people around him. They did all they could to help him. It is his own fault. If it is true that these products were found with him, then this is probably the end of his career."
Tom van Damme, Belgian cycling federation spokesman: "Especially it's a pity for the image of cycling, as it happened with one individual. And it's stupid too."
The Belgian federation has not said anything yet about sanctions: "It's much too early for that".
Paul De Geyter, manager of Frank Vandenbroucke: "I will work hard to reduce the damage. Of course we expect problems with Domo and the UCI. My feelings for Frank and this case are at the last place at the moment. I will talk about that later with Frank."
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