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Frank Vandenbroucke (Cinelli-Down Under)
Belgian recruits the help of Aldo Sassi as he searches for new team
Frank Vandenbroucke has announced that he will publish his blood values on the internet in an effort to attract a new team. The Belgian has says he has made the decision in order to clear his name of what he feels in a general perception of him as a doper.
"I carry around the stigma of a doping rider, but this is not the case," Vandenbroucke told Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. "I need to address this and I have been in contact with Dr [Aldo] Sassi of the Mapei-training center in Milan."
Vandenbroucke said that Italian cycling coach Aldo Sassi has agreed to support the former Mapei rider with his training and the ongoing publication of his blood values. "Sassi will work with me from now on. He will also regularly test my blood and we will put my blood [values] on the net."
A well known figure in the cycling world, Sassi currently acts as a coach to both Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas). He has been instrumental in Basso's return to cycling's top level after he agreed to coach the Italian, on the condition that his blood values be open to public scrutiny.
For Vandenbroucke, the motivation for transparency comes from his desire to find a new team. In a career that dates back to 1994, the now 34-year-old has ridden for 11 different squads, most recently Cinelli-Down Under. He left the Australian-registered squad in June and has been unable to find a new team.
"My financial requirements are not high," he told Gazet van Antwerpen. "It must have to do with my past."
Vandenbroucke was a prodigious figure early in his career. He won races including Gent-Wevelgem (1998), Paris-Nice (1998), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (1999) as well as two stages of the Vuelta a España. He rode for Mapei from 1995 to 1998 and Cofidis from 1999 to 2000. His career began to falter in the early 2000s as he battled problems on and off the bike.
In 2004, he admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs, including EPO, and was subsequently convicted by Belgian authorities 2005. Following the failure of his marriage Vandenbroucke reached his lowest ebb in 2007, after a failed attempt to commit suicide.
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