Frank Vandenbroucke plays down suicide story

Frank Vandenbroucke is recovering in an Italian hospital after being admitted on Wednesday afternoon

Frank Vandenbroucke is recovering in an Italian hospital after being admitted on Wednesday afternoon
PIC: Frank Vandenbroucke (courtesy) Suicide or not, Belgian Frank Vandenbroucke is not in good health at the moment. Depressed over his relationship with his wife, he has been in the Fornaroli hospital near Milan since Wednesday, but is no longer in a serious condition according to doctors. On Thursday, the Italian and Belgian media reported that a depressed Vandenbroucke had tried to end his life. His Acqua&Sapone team director, Palmiro Masciarelli was quoted by AP as saying that he tried to open a vein in his arm, while Het Laatste Nieuws reported that he had tried to overdose on sleeping pills. "I sent my nephew Mimo to Milan to get him back," said Masciarelli to HLN. "On Tuesday, VDB vanished and Mimo found him on Wednesday. I wasn't normal, he was under the influence of sleeping tablets. When Mimo went out, Frank took an overdose of antidepressants. He also took a dose of insulin. "When Mimo came back, he found Frank stretched out on the ground. He called the hospital. After five minutes, Vandenbroucke was conscious again. He said that he was in love with his wife. That he wanted to come back to Pescara to race." Vandenbroucke dismissed the suicide reports, telling Sporza on Friday, "What they said about me is completely untrue. I am very depressed, yes. Sarah [Pinacci, his wife] wants to leave me and I'm paying the price for that now. "But I didn't try to commit suicide. I admitted myself into hospital on Wednesday." Vandenbroucke's career has been plagued with problems over the last eight years, and he has changed teams once a year, on average. He had his best year in 1999, winning Lige-Bastogne-Lige, Het Volk, two stages in the Vuelta and several other races. But then he became involved in various doping scandals, the worst being in 2002 when police raided his home and found banned drugs. He served a six month suspension for that, and was pursued by the Belgian courts. But he was not sanctioned any more for that offence. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
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