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by Shane Stokes
January 23, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Richie Porte wins the 2017 Tour Down Under, Caleb Ewan takes a fourth stage win; Roe triumphs on day one of the New Zealand Cycle Classic; Van der Har heads Telenet-Fidea one-two-three in Hoogerheide World Cup; Vos the boss in Hoogerheide World Cup; Haas edged out for Santos Tour Down Under podium; De Gendt scoops King of the Mountains jersey on final stage; Positive test followed by suicide of rider’s coach; Santos Tour Down Under, stage 5 highlights; Santos Tour Down Under, stage 6 highlights; VTWO/CyclingTips Carpark Climb; 360 degree video from Hoogerheide World Cup
A positive test for cortisone for a 17 year old rider appears tragic enough, but that news has been followed by the suicide of the junior competitor’s personal coach.
Last week Belgian cyclocross competitor Fabio Verberckmoes was informed by post that he had tested positive after taking the runner-up slot in a race near Liege on December 18. He was sacked by the Cycling.be-Alphamotorhomes team.
On Wednesday his former coach, referred to by Belgian media as simply Eddy V., died. Although no note was left, it has been concluded that he took his own life.
The rider’s father Phil Verberckmoes believes the two situations are connected. “Since early December Fabio had a new coach,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “Someone from outside the team, who spent more than four months pulling on his sleeve to be allowed to accompany him.
“Three days before the race in Oleye where Fabio was caught, the coach came to pick him up at home in order to prepare him with a first ‘vitamin injection.’ I asked him if that was allowed, but he waved away my concern. ‘No fear, Phil. I’ve done this so many times,’ he said, while Fabio got into his car.”
The paper has reported that another rider, 22 year-old Vispoel Bryan, also received what he was told were vitamins by the same coach. He said that he had been working with him since November and was anxiously awaiting his own test results. He added that the coach’s passing plus the stress of the situation had brought his season to an early end.