God is Dead
‘How doping killed cycling’s ‘golden boy’. A shocking, clear-sighted and sympathetic account of a talent destroyed by drugs.’ The Times
‘Sensitive yet compelling.’ The Observer
They called him God.
For his grace on a bicycle, for his divine talent, for his heavenly looks. Frank Vandenbroucke had it all, and in the late nineties he raced with dazzling speed and lived even faster.
The Belgian won most of cycling’s most prestigious races, including Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Nice, enthralling a generation of cycling fans. Off the bike, he only had one enemy – himself.
His rise to prominence coincided with a rampant period of doping and Vandenbroucke had a wayward streak. He regularly fell out with team managers and had all-night party sessions mixing sleeping pills and alcohol. A drugs scandal started a long fall from grace, leading to addiction, car crashes, court appearances, marital problems and suicide bids, punctuated by sporting comebacks. His life was like a soap opera and its premature ending shocked many.
In October 2009, aged thirty-four, Vandenbroucke was found dead in a Senegalese hotel room – in mysterious circumstances.
Led by candid contributions from his closest family, friends and associates, William Hill award-winning author Andy McGrath lays bare Vandenbroucke’s turbulent life story. God is Dead is the compelling biography of this mercurial cycling prodigy.
‘With his talent, Frank is the Johan Cruyff of cycling. He could win anything.’ Eddy Merckx, FIVE TIMES WINNER OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE
‘Captures the charisma and chaos of Vandenbroucke’s short life perfectly.’ Cyclist
‘A cautionary tale. Gripping yet harrowing.’ Bikeradar
'With his talent, Frank is the Johan Cruyff of cycling. He could win anything.' * Eddy Merckx * 'I sometimes wonder if he was too intelligent to be a rider. He was a genius.' * Patrick Lefevere * 'In Belgium, we need heroes, examples. People who don't break, people who release us from our daily mediocrity. People who can fly, who do things that we cannot. VDB on the Saint-Nicolas.' * Matthias Declercq * 'They said I was arrogant. But when I won, it was beautiful, a la James Dean.' * Frank Vandenbroucke * 'He was shy and introverted, not the extrovert. We could think that he was macho, but he wanted to be loved.' * Jef Brouwers *
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