So we are starting our slew of XC updates today with the few days old news that 4 x Aussie national champ Chris Jongewaard has been sentenced to two years jail time with a minimum parole period of nine months! Two years ago he was at a party with team mate Matthew Rex. Rex left the party on his bike drunk and with no helmet, shoes or lights, while Jongewaard left drunk and behind the wheel of his car and proceeded to hit and run his teammate. Those XC dudes know how to party.
This is from the Hearld On Sunday
ELITE cyclist Chris Jongewaard has been jailed for at least nine months for running down a fellow rider, the sentence threatening his international career. Cycling Australia will consider further punishment for the 30-year-old at a disciplinary hearing in Melbourne on Monday.
He also faces a civil suit from Matthew Rex, the former training partner he knocked from a bike while driving drunk, south of Adelaide in 2007. In the South Australian District Court today, Judge Wayne Chivell refused defence requests to suspend Jongewaard’s jail term, ordering him to immediately start serving his time behind bars. He sentenced the mountain bike star to two years jail with a nine-month non-parole period and also disqualified him from driving for 10 years. The judge criticised Jongewaard for driving while drunk and for speeding at the time of the crash. He also criticised Mr Rex for being drunk, possibly on drugs and for riding without lights, shoes or a helmet. The judge said Mr Rex should take considerable blame for the incident. “His behaviour was reckless and dangerous,” Judge Chivell said. But Mr Rex said in trying to defend Jongewaard, his lawyers had decided to attack him. “Throughout this case I’ve felt like the one on trial,” he said outside the court. “There have been a lot of claims made and I have not had the chance to defend myself.” Mr Rex said he would set out his case in a planned civil action against Jongewaard. “Chris may have got nine months, but I have got a sentence of life, a life of injury,” he said.
Jongewaard was last month found guilty of aggravated driving without due care and leaving the scene of an accident in relation to the crash.
Mr Rex suffered a broken back, broken hip, broken leg and internal bleeding in 2007 when he was knocked from his bike in the dark by Jongewaard, the injuries ending his cycling career. The pair had both been at a party celebrating Mr Rex’s birthday. Judge Chivell said Jongewaard had been drinking before the crash and his offending was by no means at the bottom end of the scale. He accepted that Jongewaard was contrite and that he had tried to apologise to the victim. But he said he did not feel it was appropriate to suspend Jongewaard’s jail term. Prosecutor Paul Rofe said he would not have been surprised if Jongewaard had received a suspended sentence. But he said the parliament had made its intentions clear by increasing the penalties for such driving offences. “It wasn’t an easy sentence,” Mr Rofe said. “He (the judge) decided that as parliament has sent such a clear message that he had no choice.” A four-time national mountain bike champion, Jongewaard has also ridden in major international road events including the Tour Down Under.
Last year, he lost his place in the team to compete in the Beijing Olympics after being charged over the hit and run crash. Jongewaard’s last competition for Australia came just a week ago when he finished 15th in the cross country event at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Canberra. After his conviction, Cycling Australia cited Jongewaard on a misconduct charge which will be considered at the closed hearing on Monday where the rider will be represented by his lawyer.
A spokeswoman said there would be no further comment until that process had run its course.