AUSTRALIAN champion cyclist Chris Jongewaard has been charged with hit-and-run offences over a crash that left another elite rider fighting for his life.
Matthew Rex, who turns 22 today, was hit by a car allegedly being driven by Jongewaard along Main South Rd at Normanville, south of Adelaide, on Saturday night.
The Adelaide rider was yesterday still in an induced coma in the intensive care unit of the Flinders Medical Centre. His condition was listed as critical but stable.
Police yesterday said Para Hills cyclist Jongewaard, 27, had been arrested and charged with a string of offences on Monday night.
He was charged with dangerous driving, causing injury by dangerous driving, driving without due care, failing to stop at an accident scene and failing to render assistance.
Police were still waiting for results of a blood alcohol test.
Rex's manager Max Stevens yesterday said it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on the charges.
"This is a horrible tragedy for all the families involved, not just the Rex family," he said.
"It goes beyond the Rex and Jongewaard families. There were other people involved and this whole thing is just a horrible set of circumstances."
Mr Stevens would not comment on the injuries Rex had suffered but explained the coma had been induced because it "made it easier for medical staff to examine and treat him".
He said Rex's family had been at his bedside around the clock and there had been overwhelming support from the cycling community, both locally and across the country.
A Tour Down Under competitor and member of development squad CSC Team O'Grady, Rex was riding with another person along Main South Rd about 9pm on Saturday.
The crash occurred within 50m of the South Shores Resort, where he had planned to stay the night.
Both Rex and Jongewaard had earlier been celebrating Rex's 22nd birthday at a Normanville hotel, leaving just after 8.30pm.
Jongewaard, who was scheduled to leave for the US next month for his professional racing debut, was bailed to appear in Adelaide Magistrate's Court on February 20.
The winner of the Australian cross country mountain bike championship last month, he was signed by US professional team Jittery Joe's after his second placing in Victoria's Herald Sun Tour in October. He was expected to race in America for several months before joining the Australian mountain bike squad for the last half of the 2007 season in Europe.
A Cycling Australia spokeswoman would not comment on the charges.