One day after the tragic news about Frank Vandenbroucke's death in a hotel room in Senegal, an investigation has yet to take place on the possible reasons for the passing of the Belgian legend. Early reports indicated that the rider died of a blood clot in his lungs (pulmonary embolism), and while this could be true, French newspaper L'Equipe has this morning reported that witnesses spoke of several medications lying beside his bed.
According to the paper, investigators found insulin, a treatment of diabetes, some sleeping pills called Stilnox and an anti-anxiety medication by the name of Xanax.
Vandenbroucke was not known to suffer from diabetes, but insulin is known to be used in cycling for doping purposes. Stilnox also has a reputation in the sport, as it is reportedly used as a drug in large quantities and mixed with alcohol. Former French pro, Philippe Gaumont, detailed in his book "Prisonnier du dopage" ("Prisoner of doping") that he and several former Cofidis team-mates including VDB took Stilnox as a party drug in 1999.
Furthermore, the French paper reported that Vandenbroucke could have been the victim of a burglary. Two cell phones, as well as 300 Euro in cash were said to have disappeared from his room.
An autopsy as well as further investigation by Senegalese police authorities are expected to shed some light into what feels like the another tragic death in the world of cycling after the passing of Marco Pantani in similar circumstances in a hotel room in Rimini, Italy, five years ago.
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