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Breyne says internet forum comments drove him to suicide attempt

By:
Cycling News
Published:
January 3, 15:48,
Updated:
January 3, 16:40
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 4, 2014
Jonathan Breyne (Crelan-Euphony) claimed his first pro win in Tour of Taihu

Jonathan Breyne (Crelan-Euphony) claimed his first pro win in Tour of Taihu

  • Jonathan Breyne (Crelan-Euphony) claimed his first pro win in Tour of Taihu
  • Stage winner Jonathan Breyne (Crelan-Euphony)
  • Jack Bauer, Michael Rogers and Damiano Cunego made up the Japan Cup road race podium.

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Belgian struggles with the fallout of positive test

Jonathan Breyne says that the reactions on internet forums to his positive clenbuterol test drove him to attempt suicide last month.

In an interview with L'Équipe, Breyne spoke candidly about his life since finding out about the positive test and what drove him to such desperate measures. “The comments from the fans drove me to act out,” he told the French sports paper. “I could not stand being called a cheater when I 'm not. I took my car, I parked in a parking lot near where my girlfriend works. I took pills.”

Breyne was fortunate that his girlfriend found him within five minutes of his overdose and rushed him to hospital, where the staff pumped his stomach. “I deeply regret doing this for my family, my friends, all the people who support me . But the reactions I read on the forums are always in my head, and it's hard to turn the page.”

It isn't just a possible ban that Breyne has to face, he will also have to pay a year's salary to the MPCC, as his former team Crelan-Euphony are a member of the organisation. He has also had his pay stopped by his team and, after recently buying a house, he will have to survive on unemployment benefits.

While Breyne has recovered physically from the suicide attempt, he is still struggling mentally with the collapse of his career. “I'm still broken, I want to cry,” he told L'Equipe. “Since I learned of my positive control, I haven't been back on the bike. It is not the rain that bothers me, but I do not want anything.”


What Happened

Breyne tested positive for clenbuterol after riding at the Tour de Hainan and Tour of Taihu Lake in October and November of last year. The Belgian rider has maintained that the substance came from contaminated meat, which is a notorious issue in China. The UCI have advised riders to avoid eating meat when in the country, but Breyne says that he was under the impression it was ok.

"I'm a big meat eater. Fred Amorison ( team-mate) , who had already raced in China, brought ten pounds of cans. I am not able to eat canned food for twenty-eight days,” he explained. “In the race road-book, it said that the food at the hotel was guaranteed to be without clenbuterol. We received meal trays after the stage, and I did not know that it was in the meat.”

Michael Rogers, was also suspended by his Tinkoff-Saxo team after he tested positive for clenbuterol during a trip to China for the Tour of Beijing. Both riders will use the same lawyer, but with no team backing and little money left in the bank Breyne has had to turn to his parents for financial support.

Doping cases can drag on for a long time and Breyne is now having to think about his life without cycling. “I'm afraid of what will happen I have to think about my future,” he says. “I trained as a painter decorator, I put the tiles up at home, I know how to use my hands, but I prefer to win my life with my legs."

DAVE P 9 months ago
Hope all you lynch mob trolls hang your heads in shame.
miba111 9 months ago
Nice try - but they won't.
Wallace 9 months ago
Some people will never learn that there are times when the only decent response is to keep your mouth, or your laptop, shut.
Snitor 9 months ago
I hope people stop using stupid excuses, but, most of all, I hope people stop believing in those.
Montoya4Ever 9 months ago
Snitor ... sorry, who is using an stupid excuse here?, come on ... this chap tried to kill himself for things people like you write in these forums ... POR LOS CLAVOS DE CRISTO .. man !!!
Snitor 9 months ago
"It isn't just a possible ban that Breyne has to face, he will also have to pay a year's salary to the MPCC, as his former team Crelan-Euphony are a member of the organisation. He has also had his pay stopped by his team and, after recently buying a house, he will have to survive on unemployment benefits." Yeah. He must have tried because of the internet people.
Snitor 9 months ago
Just to clear up what I said. I am not unsensible to Breyne and his feelings. But what do you want? Do you think we should stop talking because someone must dislike what we type? I never said Breyne is the devil or anything like that, I just dislike his response to this positive result. He is getting literally f**** by the WADA and MPCC, that including his own team, and yet he claims he is not responsible for the crime he is/will being/be punished. So, instead of blaming them, saying something along the lines of "they don't catch the real dopers but do catch someone who was just naive about eating meat at the hotel in China? That is unfair", he comes out and says the fan reaction led him to suicide attempt? I'm sorry, but that does not make any sense to me. And, as I said above, I hope people would stop believing in this kind of story. I am not blaming him, though, and I do not wish him any harm.
Lucifa 9 months ago
Another lying cycling drug cheat. Typical that Dave p supports these lying cheats.
Montoya4Ever 9 months ago
So Lucifa ... for you the "lying cycling drug cheat" should kill himself ????
Mark Hornsby 9 months ago
I'm sorry, but I don't buy a single word or this. Whilst I am more than happy to entertain the possibility that there was no deliberate use of banned substances; there is just no way on earth that someone genuinely attempting to commit suicide makes the effort to drive to a place that is within minutes of where their partner is and where they are not only likely to be found by that parter, but found before the supposed attempt could succeed. That isn't to say that he isn't a deeply troubled young man, but all this playing for sympathy with what has all the hallmarks of a staged suicide attempt is, quite frankly, despicable in the extreme.
Chrono 9 months ago
Your know-all uber-judgemental analysis is what I find despicable, Mark.
Mark Hornsby 9 months ago
You are, of course, entirely free to think that.
KatoMiler 9 months ago
What a cynical, if not just completely ignorant, comment. But a sign of the times in cycling, not unearned.
ToreBear 9 months ago
Suicide attempts are usually cries for help. Sometimes cries for help are not discovered and the attempt becomes successful. So it is an attempt with risk of death or permanent disability. Not something that you would do unless you really have it difficult. Are you pissed because he did not choose a method with more certainty? Are you pissed that despite suffering he did not actually make the final commitment to end his own life?
Mark Hornsby 9 months ago
Of course I'm not pissed that he didn't succeed - and you'd have to be a monumental cretin to even think that - but I am pissed that he would use that method to make what was very clearly a cry for help.
ToreBear 9 months ago
It's called attempted suicide, not cry for help for a reason.
KatoMiler 9 months ago
So, what is it you're really angry about… Mark? And I think the label, "Cretin" is probably more appropriately applied to your initial post.
neineinei 9 months ago
I save the use of the the words 'despicable in the extreme' for persons who claims to know all about other peoples state of mind after reading a brief news report only to lash out with gross accusations.
Mark Hornsby 9 months ago
"persons who claims to know all about other peoples state of mind" And I have claimed to know "all about" his state of mine have I? I'd just love to seed your pitifully tortured logic for that "gross accusation" :D
ceramiccyclist 9 months ago
I think you're digging yourself an ever deeper hole here pal.
patrick24 9 months ago
Obviously, I have no idea what was going through Breyne's head, but his suicide attempt struck me as a stage sympathy ploy.
ceramiccyclist 9 months ago
A suicide attempt is often a cry for help. Many suicide attempts follow similar patterns. I'd give the guy a break and let's see how this clenbuterol business plays out. He may well have been the victim of contamination. Not being an anti-doping expert, nor a psychiatrist by the way, as I'm sure you're not either, I can't testify with any authority to either his doping positive nor his motives in self-harm/suicide attempt. What I do know, is that he deserves a fair hearing based on evidence like everyone else.
brucegolla 9 months ago
yer a dweeb Mark. Honestly get a life bro
socalvelo 9 months ago
Deeply cynical words. I blame all the cheats in the sport, where mistakes are no longer considered and the sport makes convicts out of every athlete with no due process. I don't know if he is guilty or not but a suicide attempt is not an admission of guilt. Having the world judge you as a person can be tough. Not everyone is cut out for that kind of pressure, especially in your early 20's.
notHeckler 9 months ago
I do not know about Clenbuterol contamination in Chinese meat, or even care too much at this point, wheather or not he is guilty. It only strikes me as deeply tragic that a young man runs the risk of losing everything.
GuyIncognito 9 months ago
Not sure what internet forums he's been reading. Even the extremely negative Clinic subforum of cyclingnews was mostly supportive of him.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Then you haven't rad most of them
del1962 9 months ago
Not necessarily EnglishLanguage forums
SundayRider 9 months ago
If I was in the public eye (sports, politics, music - any area) I would not be reading internet forums or newspapers either in the good times or bad.
miba111 9 months ago
Totally agree - I'm not even sure what I'm doing in here !!
Journey Man 9 months ago
Easier said than done, I imagine.
KatoMiler 9 months ago
But this isn't about you. This is about a twenty something that's trying to start a life, build a dream and a career. I've been a professional athlete, and I'm pretty sure most of the posters on this forum can't even realistically imagine what it's like to be in the shoes of these aspiring/established pros, and be faced with the financial and professional decisions that they face. I'm not arguing for any rider's claims to be clean or not. I am arguing that it's always worlds easier to spout wisdom from the recliner in the living room, playing the role of Monday morning quarterback, than it is to know and claim one's real ignorance.
racyrich 9 months ago
I'd be interested to see if that MPCC 'fine' is legally enforcable.
sideshadow 9 months ago
F*** the MPCC. How does MPCC making money stop doping?
sideshadow 9 months ago
I don't think it's legally enforceable and I don't think he or anyone should give a dime.
patrick24 9 months ago
I presume it is a term of his contract, so it would be legally enforceable.
racyrich 9 months ago
You mean that contract his team has terminated.
patrick24 9 months ago
It would be a obligation that survived termination.
boombastic 9 months ago
if he is so fragile ten i cannot understand 2 things: 1-why he was not more aware what he was eating (if he speaks truth) 2-why he read forums?
Golddigger 9 months ago
1) have you ever been passed your back door, let alone to a country where you can't even begin to pronounce what is scribbled on paper or elsewhere. China is a very difficult place to visit with the differences in culture, language etc (yes I worked there for several years), so putting the onus on a young lad who has many other things to do than worry about what may or may not be in his tucker is a very big ask. The unfortunate thing here is that the team didn't take a "C" sample from a mechanic or trainer that might show that the whole entourage had been poisoned. As for 2, we all are interested in what others think, why do you think Facebook (or this forum) are so popular?
boombastic 9 months ago
1. yes, i did. i've been working in india and ukraine (if we talk about different cultures and alphabets). However i'm not sure how it is relevant to the fact, that he ate ameat from unknown source. as a professional cyclist. Just like rodgers. pro for 20 years and boom, silly poisoning, which happened only to him... 2. but we all understand that there is no need to take every comment personally, right?
Hill Special 1980 9 months ago
I feel sorry for this guy, he is young and pro-cycling is a messed up world, but his statements pose more questions than they answer. Is it really true that “In the race road-book, it said that the food at the hotel was guaranteed to be without clenbuterol'' ? If so there should be documentation proving the origin of the meat used and any due diligence done or not done by the UCI. If the food is guaranteed safe then have the teams and riders accepted this at face value? Should the teams test the food in China to be certain that it really is safe? Do teams routinely test food for traces of prohibited substances? if not why not? Why are riders apparently so against eating fish, vegetarian food or tinned food for a few days, is that such a hardship compared with a potential doping positive and racing ban? There are so many flaws in the way teams are operating, there really should be a strong and coherent strategy by all team managements to ensure that riders are not inadvertently exposed to these risks. I can understand that some riders can be a bit naive but there is no excuse for incompetence by team management. I would also like to know what exactly it is that Breyne and Rogers are blaming this on, as I understand it clenbuterol contamination is very rare in muscle-meat, much more common in offal especially lungs, kidneys and eyes all of which are used in processed meat products. I am 100% sure that it is possible for athletes to race in China and take some sensible precautions to avoid ingesting clenbuterol. These cases should not be happening. As far as whether or not it can be conclusively proven either way if these guys were in fact using clen deliberately all along, I doubt it, but strict liability isn't anything new, the teams should have ensured that riders not only knew the risks but avoided them too, so at the end of the day I'm afraid its hard luck, they should serve a ban. One thing I am sure of is that there is no way in a court of law that they could prove that all the clenbuterol in their samples came from contaminated food alone - the possibility that there was deliberate use cannot be entirely eliminated, hence they are guilty.
bike_boy 9 months ago
Please consider using paragraphs next time, lovely block of text though.
Hill Special 1980 9 months ago
ok will do, thanks
jamie_1st 9 months ago
What strikes me as strange, is that if China is so awash with tainted beef, why are all those Chinese Olympic athletes not always testing positive for Clenb?
wrinklyvet 9 months ago
It's documented. They had to avoid meat before the last Olympics.
bing181 9 months ago
"Last January, 700 athletes were barred from eating beef for 15 days after the General Administration of Sport of China found excessive levels of clenbuterol in their samples." …. and ….. "The country's national aquatics team fared even worse when their handlers' couldn't find additive-free meat. The team's 196 athletes weren't served beef, pork, or mutton for 40 days beginning in January."
Cance > TheRest 9 months ago
Even if its true, it would be somewhat stupid to expect anything else from forum users than hating and blaming when a rider is tested positive for any kind of banned substance. As a professional cyclist you kind of need to be able to handle such things. Still it's always sad when someone's so psychically unstable that "small things" (it's just sport) can make them try to commit suicide...
Hill Special 1980 9 months ago
true but to be fair its not just sport for him, its his livelihood
KatoMiler 9 months ago
My reaction is quite a bit stronger. @Cance&gt: TheRest… what an incredibly obtuse, narrow-minded response…
ristcanyon 9 months ago
It's his career, his house payment, and I would imagine to a large extent a large part of his personal identity.
Raoul Duke 9 months ago
We really don't know what is happening. For example according to the World Federation For Mental Health (WFMH) studies in Australia show that more than 75% of people who develop a serious mental illness have their first episode before the age of 25, with the highest prevalence being the 18-24 year age group. It's likely true in Canada as well, a psychiatrist I know chose to work at the University here because of this. Need more info, all I know of Breyne is the little I have heard in the press. It is sad, so many in a time of their life when they are just starting out are stricken with these kinds of problems even when they have promising lives