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Vandenbroucke to appeal his fine

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
June 29, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 0:00 BST
Edition:
Latest Cycling News for June 29, 2005

Frank Vandenbroucke believes that his recently meted out €250,000 fine for drug possession is too...

Frank Vandenbroucke believes that his recently meted out €250,000 fine for drug possession is too severe, and intends to appeal the fine to the Belgian Supreme Court in Brussels. "Frank has given the instruction to go to the Supreme Court," said one of his lawyers, Johnny Maeschalk to Het Nieuwsblad. Vandenbroucke added, "If necessary, I'll even go to the European Court of Human Rights."

Vandenbroucke was originally given a sentence of 200 hours community service after being found guilty of illegal drug possession by the court in Dendermonde, Belgium. He appealed that ruling on the grounds that he had already served a six month sporting ban (in Flanders only) and should not be further penalised. However, instead of reversing the decision, the Gent Court of Appeal came down harder and fined him €250,000, a sum that Frank found to be out of proportion to his crimes.

Vandenbroucke's former teammate Chris Peers is suggesting another approach, asking VDB's supporters to put in €1 each to try to raise the €250,000. In Belgium, it's quite common for a rider's support club and sponsor to do this when their man wins a race, meaning that their "winning bonus" is often far greater than the prize money for first place (with fairly predictable consequences).

"How we would do this exactly, I don't know yet," said Peers. "But why not a fundraising drive for 250,000 x 1 euro? I know that not everyone is behind him, but according to me, most of the public still support Frank." Peers said he would wait until the outcome of the latest appeal before choosing this action.

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