Drink-driving incident hits Australian Olympic cycling team
Australian cycling gold medal hopes Jack Bobridge and Michael Hepburn are lucky to still be on the Olympic team after being involved in a drink-driving incident.
AUSTRALIAN cycling gold medal hopes Jack Bobridge and Michael Hepburn are lucky to still be on the Australian Olympic Team after being involved in a drink-driving incident.
A Spanish court fined Bobridge 700 euros ($880) and his licence was suspended for eight months after he was arrested on Tuesday in the resort town of Lloret de Mar.
Cycling Australia (CA) said Bobridge was driving a car that was involved in a minor collision.
No other vehicles were involved in the car park accident near the Spanish city of Girona, where Bobridge is based.
Hepburn and another unnamed Australian cyclist were also in the car.
CA found Bobridge and Hepburn guilty of misconduct, but they will stay on the Games team.
Bobridge and Hepburn are key members of the team pursuit squad that has a fierce rivalry with Great Britain, who are the world champions.
If they were kicked off the team, Australia would no longer be a gold medal chance in the event.
CA kept the Australian Olympic Committee informed of the incident and the AOC have also decided not to punish the pair further.
London team chef de mission Nick Green spoke to Bobridge by phone on Sunday.
“(Bobridge) has made full disclosure as he obligated to do under his team agreement,” the AOC said in a statement.
“(Green) is satisfied with the penalty imposed by CA and will not be taking any further action.”
The AOC decided not to take mountain biker Chris Jongewaard and swimmer Nick D’Arcy to the Beijing Olympics because those athletes were involved in incidents that resulted in court action.
CA fined Bobridge $2500, with $2000 of the penalty suspended, and he is now on a 12-month good behaviour bond.
Hepburn is also on a 12-month bond and received a $1000 suspended fine.
The two cyclists are also banned from drinking alcohol whenever they are with the national team.
“Jack has been reckless and irresponsible and he is fortunate he has escaped without serious injury to himself or others,” CA chief executive Graham Fredericks said.
“There is no excuse for drinking and driving and we endorse the action of Spanish authorities.”
“We also recognise that as Jack is a member of our Olympic pursuit squad we need to do what we can to protect his teammates and ensure their training and hard work is not put at risk,” added Fredericks.
Bobridge and Hepburn are also professional road cyclists with the new Australian-based team Orica-GreenEDGE. – AAP
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