God is Dead

God is Dead

The Rise and Fall of Frank Vandenbroucke, Cycling's Great Wasted Talent

Summary

'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 Liège-Bastogne-Liège 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.

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'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

Reviews

  • How doping killed cycling's 'golden boy'. A shocking, clear-sighted and sympathetic account of a talent destroyed by drugs.
    Melanie Reid, The Times

About the author

Andy McGrath

Andy McGrath is a freelance journalist and the former editor of Rouleur magazine. Having previously worked at Cycling Weekly and Cycle Sport, he has also written on cycling for the Guardian and Financial Times. He is the co-author of The Official Treasure of the Tour de France and the author of Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire, which won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2017.
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