World individual pursuit champion Jack Bobridge has been fined €700 by a Spanish court and banned from driving for eight months after a drink-driving incident in Lloret del Mar, Catalonia last week. Bobridge and fellow Australian team pursuit squad member Michael Hepburn, a passenger in the car, have been fined for their part in the incident which comes a little over a month before the Olympic Games.
In a statement, Cycling Australia said that the 22-year-old GreenEdge rider Bobridge, who lives in nearby Girona during the European season, had been arrested on Tuesday 19 June following a “minor collision in a car park,” adding that no other vehicle was involved.
According to the Herald Sun, the pair received what was described as a severe reprimand from team manager Nick Green, with Bobridge saving his place in the Olympic squad after making a full confession of the circumstances regarding the incident.
“Jack has been reckless and irresponsible and he is fortunate he has escaped without serious injury to himself or others,” commented Graham Fredericks, CEO of Cycling Australia.
“There is no excuse for drinking and driving and we endorse the action of Spanish authorities,” he added.
Hepburn and another, unnamed cyclist who is not part of the Olympic squad were also in the vehicle.
Cycling Australia has fined both Bobridge and Hepburn for being in breach of its disciplinary code.
“Jack has been fined A$2,500 with A$500 of the fine payable to our charity partner, the Amy Gillett Foundation,” confirmed Mr. Fredericks. “The remainder of the fine has been suspended pending Jack entering into a 12 month good behavior bond.”
Hepburn has likewise been put on a 12-month good behaviour bond, and will have to pay a $1,000 he is found to be in breach of it. The pair have also both been banned from consuming alcohol when on duty with the national team, whether that be in training or competition.
“Jack is sincerely sorry and is well aware his actions could have resulted in a far more serious outcome,” added Mr Fredericks. “He has made a mistake and exercised poor judgment but we hope this will serve as a lesson and we will now work with him to help him make better choices in future.
“We also recognise that as Jack is a member of our Olympic pursuit squad we need to do what we can to protect his team mates and ensure their training and hard work is not put at risk,” he went on.
“Jack and Michael are now at the track endurance squad training camp where they, our coaches and team officials will get on with the job of preparing for London.”
The expected tussle at the Olympics between Australia and Great Britain, who set a new world record in the team pursuit when winning the world championship in Melbourne in April, is one of the most eagerly anticipated events at the velodrome in August.
Bobridge and Hepburn were both members of the Australian team pursuit squad that took Commonwealth Games gold at Delhi in 2010.
The following month, another member of the team, Dale Parker, was involved in a drink-driving incident that left a friend seriously injured and was banned from driving for five months. Parker subsequently retired from cycling at the age of just 19.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.