Frank Vandenbroucke is coming back once again to the sport of cycling and his entourage emphasised that this time it is serious. Vandenbroucke will ride for Cinelli-Down Under in 2009.
Vandenbroucke's sports manager Nico Mattan is convinced that Vandenbroucke can return to his former strength and even thought the Belgian could have done better in Wednesday's Samyn race. Mattan had clear words for Samyn's organiser, Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke, at the team's presentation on Thursday. "VDB and [Kevyn] Ista are on a counter attack behind the front group and your commissaire blocks the road, which prevented the two from coming back," he said according to the Belgian paper Dernière Heure.
Both Ista and Vandenbroucke belonged to the large group of 130 riders who did not finish the race. Mattan, a former winner of Gent-Wevelgem amidst some equal controversy, is certain that Vandenbroucke would have fared better without the mess created by the commissaires.
The man himself was surprisingly quiet about his ambitions for 2009. "I can only be vague on the subject of results for 2009," Vandenbroucke said. "I am proud to be here, at an acceptable level of fitness. I came from nowhere, so it is almost a miracle."
Mattan said that Vandenbroucke has changed for good. "Before, he got up at 11. In the past several months it is practically he who wakes me up by calling me in the morning... He is never late for meetings anymore. He lives again like a pro, as he did during his best years. But this time he is much more mature."
Even Vandenbroucke's father Jean-Jacques thinks things are off to a more promising start. "If he continues like that he can be really good in May." Jean-Jacques and uncle Jean-Luc were both surprised with Vandenbroucke's form at Le Samyn.
Vandenbroucke said he felt really good all-around. "It has been a long time since my father and my uncle had been at a team presentation of mine."