Frank Vandenbroucke has reacted angrily to the €250,000 fine dealt out to him by the Gent Court of Appeal on Thursday. The MrBookmaker cyclist, who was found guilty of having illegal drugs in his possession in February 2002, told Het Laatste Nieuws that he thought the fine was out of proportion to his crime. "Did I harm society? I had doping at home, yes. And I injected myself with it. But the biggest drug trafficker has to spend a month in jail and gets a maximum fine of €25,000. They are worse criminals than I? Apparently, they found that I am a junkie. Well, they send a junkie to therapy. But no, Vandenbroucke, he gets a huge fine."
Vandenbroucke was asked whether he could pay the fine, as otherwise he risks a three month jail sentence. "It's true that I have lost a lot of money," he said. "But I shouldn't have to sell my house or my car. It doesn't mean that I'll pay. Marc Lotz must be shitting his pants now. And Museeuw, and Planckaert. Soon the prisons will be full of riders."
But VDB says he won't be beaten. "I will not become a second Pantani," he vowed. "Because that's what they want, apparently: that I put a bullet through my head."
MrBookmaker's team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren believes that three months in jail might be the best for Vandenbroucke, telling HLN, "In three months he can earn €250,000. Even more, because he will live there free of charge. And it's probably a good way to get through the winter. Then no-one can tell him to hang around in discos and not look after himself."