By Nigel Wynn
Belgian professional Frank Vandenbroucke has died, aged 34, whilst on holiday in Senegal.
Classics specialist Vandenbroucke, known to fans simply as VDB, amassed an impressive array of wins during the heyday of his career in the Nineties. He has wins at Het Volk, Ghent-Wevelgem, Paris-Nice, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Brussels in his palmarès.
Belgian media report the cause of death as pulmonary embolism.
Since the Nineties, Vandenbroucke had suffered numerous troubles, ranging from recreational drug problems to attempted suicide.
Although he had attempted several comebacks to professional cycling in recent years, he could not regain the form that saw him as a major force in cycling a decade ago.
Serge Baguet, a former Belgian professional, met Vandenbroucke in the early part of his career.
"Frank was one of the biggest talents that I ever saw in my life," Baguet explained to Cycling Weekly.
"He started in the Lotto-team where I was riding in those days, he was 19-years-old and showed the cycling world immediately that he was a great rider. He was able to be on the podium of the Tour de France. Armstrong and Frank are the most talented bike riders that I saw in my career, the first one won the Tour several times, the other one is dead now. It's unbelievable".
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