Former track world champion Jack Bobridge has admitted to taking recreational drugs with teammates during his career. Bobridge detailed his drug usage while appearing in court charged with supplying ecstasy tablets – a charge that he denies.
Bobridge, who predominantly competed on the track but spent seven seasons racing on the road, said that he took the drugs with two teammates while he was competing in Europe between 2010 and 2016. He told the court the names of the two teammates, although they were suppressed by the judge. The Australian admitted to taking the drugs, which included ecstasy and cocaine, ahead of some races, knowing that they would be gone from his system by race day. However, he denied taking drugs before or during the Olympic Games that he competed at in Beijing, London and Rio.
Bobridge told the court that the drugs were given to him by fans, but that he continued to use them to deal with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 19. He added that the only arthritis medication that was not on the banned list gave him symptoms of chronic fatigue. Bobridge would eventually retire from cycling in 2016 as a result of the arthritis.
According to reports in the Australian press, Bobridge became emotional as he spoke about his diagnosis and how it eventually forced him out of the sport, and the breakdown of his marriage following his retirement.
Bobridge was arrested in 2017 and charged with selling "significant quantities" of ecstasy (MDMA) and could face a prison sentence if he is found guilty. He is accused of supplying ecstasy tablets to former friend and ex-rider Alex McGregor between March and August of 2017 – following his retirement. The court has been told that McGregor went on to sell the drugs to someone who turned out to be an undercover police officer.
McGregor appeared in court last week and detailed how Bobridge used "cycling code" to organise the exchange of the pills, the day before McGregor was caught by the undercover police operation. McGregor, who has previously been banned for doping, was described as the middle man, with Bobridge supplying him with between 10 and 99 tablets.
Bobridge has denied the allegations and said that it was McGregor that supplied him with the ecstasy, which he wanted for personal use. With regards to the messages between himself and McGregor, which were sent on social media, Bobridge said that they were detailing his own use of recreational drugs and that of other cyclists.
"I told him instances of using recreational drugs," he said, according to the Australian press. "I mentioned other cyclists I used to do that with.
"I was paranoid about my past. I was starting a new business and I didn't want my name trampled, so I sent a message so he wouldn't talk about what I said."
Prosecutor Joel Grinceri suggested that Bobridge's story of drug use with teammates was "concocted" and that the messages sent to McGregor were in order to sell the ecstasy. Bobridge will continue to give evidence this week.
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