VDB unemployed again

Frank Vandenbroucke (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) looks on

Frank Vandenbroucke (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) looks on (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The Mitsubishi-Jartazi team announced on Thursday that it has terminated its contract with Frank Vandenbroucke. The team management and sponsors held a meeting with Vandenbroucke and his manager Paul De Geyter, and came to an accord where both sides agreed to end the contract.

"After a constructive discussion between the two parties, it was jointly decided to accept the termination of the employment of Frank Vandenbroucke," a team press release stated. "The team stresses that this decision was made in consultation with the cyclist and his manager."

Vandenbroucke had been optimistic about returning to racing after his attempted suicide of last June early this year. He started racing again last fall and had his first race this season in the GP Marseillaise, but had to abandon after 50 km. He managed to finish the Etoile de Bessèges the following week, but his fortune would soon take a turn for the worse.

In March, the UCI gave his team a 'wild card' designation which would allow them to ride ProTour events, yet added on the unusual stipulation that they could participate in the events only if Vandenbroucke was not on the start list.

Vandenbroucke threatened to take the UCI to court, while his team gave him up as a sacrifice to ensure the rest of the squad could participate in the high profile events.

'VDB' then skipped the mid-week Nokere Koerse, deciding instead to fly to Italy to visit his daughter. Not long after, the press reported that his name had come up in a cocaine investigation in Flanders, something the rider vehemently denied. However, his team placed him on the 'inactive' list earlier this month after getting confirmation that the Belgian had been named as a customer of gang drug dealers.

This marks the third team in three years for Vandenbroucke, after unremarkable seasons with the Unibet.com and Acqua & Sapone squads. Mitsubishi stepped in last October to give the rider a second chance.

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