Belgian cyclo-cross has been rocked by the news that a cyclo-cross coach has committed suicide after it emerged junior rider Fabio Verberckmoes tested positive for cortisone.
According to reports in several Flemish media, Fabio Verberckmoes tested positive test for cortisone in a test done after his second place in a race in Oleye near Liege on December 18. On hearing the news his personal coach Eddy V (who has not been fully named) apparently committed suicide on Wednesday. He did not leave a suicide note and so did not confirm or deny if his actions caused Verberckmoes’ positive test.
Verberckmoes was dismissed by the Cycling.be-Alphamotorhomes team after the positive was confirmed. His family believes the coach was somehow involved.
"Fabio had a new coach since early December. Someone from outside the team, who spent more than four months pulling on his sleeve to be allowed to accompany him,” Philippe Verberckmoes told Het Laatste Nieuws.
"Three days before the race in Oleye, where Fabio was caught, the coach came to pick him up at home, in order to prepare him with a first 'vitamin injection'. I asked him if it was allowed but he dismissed my concerns. 'No fear, Phil. I've done this so many times,' he said, while Fabio got into his car."
"I had confidence in his new coach. No one had for a second thought he was doping Fabio. Like my son I’m completely shocked. Now we can only wait for the commission of the Federation to call us to a hearing."
Fabio Verberckmoes could be banned for four years if his doping offence is confirmed.
According to Het Laatste Nieuws, 22 year-old Vispoel Bryan said he was also followed by the same coach and was also told he had been given vitamins.
"He’d coached me since November. I never suspected anything until Fabio got his letter. Now I will anxiously awaiting my results. I won’t race again this winter for sure. The death of Eddy and the all doubts in my mind mean I would not perform anyway," he said.