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Former classics expert Vandenbroucke, 34, dies

FORMER classics specialist Frank Vandenbroucke of Belgium has died at the age of 34, a source close to the rider's family said yesterday.

"It is very sad news," said the source who declined to be identified.

Belgian media reported that Vandenbroucke, at one stage considered to be one of his country's greatest cycling hopes, was found dead in a hotel room in Senegal.

The nephew of former Belgian great Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke, he started his professional career in 1994 and rode for the Lotto, Mapei, Cofidis and Lampre teams.

Frank triumphed in the Paris-Nice stage race in 1998 and 1999, claimed the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic and won two stages of the Tour of Spain.

However, his career was then derailed and he was dropped by the Mitsubishi-Jartazi team after his name appeared in a drugs-related investigation.

Vandenbroucke attempted suicide in June 2007.


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