Suspects acquitted in Vandenbroucke case
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Suspects acquitted in Vandenbroucke case

by VeloNation Press at 9:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

The three Senegalese suspected of stealing from Belgian cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke were acquitted Tuesday in a court in Thies, 70 kilometres east of Dakar. Vandenbroucke died last October in Senegal of a pulmonary embolism. The three, which include a woman, were accused of taking two cellphones and money during his final hours, but were not implicated in his death.

The court president Malick Lamothe said it "acquits Seynabou Diop, Alassane Gaye and Mbaye Seck of theft and complicity in theft". All three had been jailed since October pending the outcome of the trial.

Last year Vandenbroucke finally looked to have sorted his past demons out on the Cinelli-Down Under team which was run by his good friend Nico Mattan. During the 2009 season he again began to show the talent that had earned him 51 victories, which include the 1999 Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Following his season with Mattan, Vandenbroucke, who suffered from depression, said he was ready to step it up for the 2010 season. In September he traveled to the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland in search of a team capable of giving him a start in cycling's biggest races.

It was his new-found motivation and direction shown to the public that made his death two weeks later in Senegal all the more tragic.


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