Altered document features Boonen's photo
Former up-and-coming cycling star Frank Vandenbroucke’s colorful career has taken on a new hue after it was revealed he has been riding incognito among Italian amateurs, using a license bearing the photo of none other than reigning world champion Tom Boonen.
Vandenbroucke, who in the past has been implicated in several doping affairs, was recently sacked by the Belgian Unibet.com team.
His desire to race has not abated, but it was to general surprise that he began racing in the tough Italian amateur scene thanks to a false racing license with Boonen’s photo on it.
Widespread media reports in Belgium on Friday cited the Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport in describing the latest of Vandenbroucke’s shenanigans.
According to Gazetta dello Sport, the 31-year-old Vandenbroucke, who in the past has been treated for depression linked to his use of banned substances, turned up at the start line of several Italian regional races with a fake license and false identification.
The name he used was “Francesco Del Ponte,” – an Italianization of his Belgian name – although according to the newspaper he made no effort to hide the photo on the card – of Boonen.
A former winner of the prestigious Liège-Bastogne-Liège one day classic, Vandenbroucke lives near Milan.
According to the newspaper reports the Belgian’s race tactics consisted of setting a blistering pace at the front of the peloton until most of them dropped off.
After taking a healthy lead over the bunch after around 60km of racing, Vandenbroucke would peel off and head for home before the race finish.