Vandenbroucke fans start petition - want VDB to race Tour of Flanders: "Enough is enough"

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09.03.2008/ Fans of Frank Vandenbroucke started a petition to put pressure on the International Cycling Union (UCI). Frank Vandenbroucke's Mitsubishi - Jartazi team was granted a wild card status by the UCI last week, but only if they would not let Vandenbroucke ride at Pro - Tour races. Although the Pro - Tour is dead after the UCI lost the power struggle with Tour de France organiser ASO, the fans won't take any risk and demand the UCI to allow VDB to start at Pro - Tour races.

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Vandenbroucke still has a lot of fans (© Cyclingheroes)

In a press release from last week the UCI tried to make the Mitsubishi - Jartazi team responsible for the situation, but it was clear that the UCI is behind the punishment of Vandenbroucke (VDB). The UCI stated that it was Mitsubishi - Jartazi who proposed in a letter from February 12, that Vandenbroucke would not be part of the team roster at Pro - Tour races. But the statement continued with: "It was on this basis that the Licenses Commission awarded the Mitsubishi-Jartazi team a wild card licence. The UCI considers it essential that the Estonian team respects its commitments."
Fans of Frank Vandenbroucke are outraged that the winner of the 1999 edition of Liège - Bastogne - Liège is not allowed to start at Pro - Tour races. VDB was banned for six months in 2002 for possesion of performance enhancing drugs and was also punished by Belgian civil courts. At the moment there is no positive probe, nor an official investigation against the Belgian rider, so its not clear why and on what basis the UCI wants to punish Vandenbroucke.
The VDB fans protested with banners at the start of last weeks 'Omloop Het Volk' and announced further protests. Yesterday they started a petition saying: "We the fans are shocked, dissapointed and outraged about the UCI's discriminating decision against Frank. This is the reason that we as fans decided to organise a petition. Our goal is that VDB will keep all his rights."
The VDB fans say the UCI is handling things with double standards: "Are they also going to ban 50 former sinners to start in the near future and why can they act like saints to ride for a Pro – Tour team with the blessing of the UCI? And shouldn't they make trouble and start to act in the surrounding of the riders like soigneurs, mechanics and team managers?"
According to the fans the UCI decision is extremely dangerous for all riders: "because no cyclist would be certain tomorrow to be permitted at the start of a race and to continue with his profession !"

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