Funny Gaumont VDB Stories

Tim Erwin sent me this translation, enjoy:

"We became inseparable. He'd often invite me to his place in Belgium so
we could train together. He began to tell me how he wanted to build a
team of friends around him that could get results but at the same time
have fun. During the '98 season we talked about this a lot, he and I,
along with Nico Mattan, another belgian.
When I'd go ride with Frank, Nico would often be there too. He treated
Frank very delicately, almost too delicately, he'd give him everything.
If Frank flatted, Nico would
change the tube, if Frank was cold, Nico would give him his gloves."

"Very quickly, due to having spent time around him, I realized that
Frank behaved like a star. I have to say that everywhere we went people

recognized him. No matter which restaurant, no matter which gas
he was recognized. At home, Clotilde, his wife, did everything. For his

training rides she would pump up his tires according to which route he
was going to take. She would get up at 6 in the morning to make him
fresh muesli and would lay out his riding clothes after having watched
weather forecast. Then she would go out and buy the groceries for the
day, come home and wake him up. 'Come back in five minutes...' She'd
come back. 'Another two minutes...'. After the third or fourth time his

highness would see fit to get up. He'd go down to the kitchen without
saying a word and then he'd read the morning paper while she buttered
toast. I saw all this and said to myself 'Okay, this is unbelievable'.

"After breakfast we'd head out to train. It was noothing like the
'Italian style' where everything was planned out with a certain
number of
intervals to do. We'd barely be out of the door and Frank would attack
and we'd have to chase him. He would do this over and over. We would
break up our training rides by making idiotic bets like: 'If you can
climb this hill riding with no hands, in your biggest gear, then you're

going to win a classic this year'. We'd do sprints, and whoever won
was promised a beautiful victory that season. On the way home, we'd
in front of Frank's neighbor's house. The guy would run out and take
VDB's bike so he could clean it for the next day's ride. Sometimes
would be crazy. At 11 at night he would decide that he absolutely
wanted a special wheel, for example one with 24 spokes. So he'd call
neighbor and the guy would work late into the night so that Master
Vandenbroucke's bike would be ready the next morning."