Pro-cyclist pleads guilty to assaulting two teenage girls before world championships

Mathieu van der Poel - Image Budimir Jevtic / Shutterstock.com

A pro-cyclist has pleaded guilty in Australia to common assault after being arrested following an altercation with two teenage girls in a Sydney hotel.

27-year-old Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel pleaded guilty in court on Monday, September 27 after being detained on the eve of Sunday’s elite road race at the world championships in Wollongong.

One of the favourites, van der Poel who has won a stage on the Tour de France, was fined Aus$1,500 (€1,010) and is apparently heading home to the Netherlands.

His lawyer Michael Rowe confirmed that his passport had been returned and that he was free to depart Australia, adding that: “I’m sure he’s keen to leave the country after this.”

Police alleged that van der Poel injured two girls aged 13 and 14 on Saturday night, pushing one to the ground and the other into a wall.

Rowe told Dutch broadcaster NOS outside the court: “It’s a sad result because I think obviously he was very frustrated with teenagers knocking on his door causing him to not be able to get to sleep.

“He’s gone out to speak to them, they’ve knocked on his door a number of times… it was very plausible how it all happened and it’s very disappointing that he’s been convicted of this offence.”

Rowe said he planned to appeal.

He continued saying: “He’s flown all the way to Australia, it’s a massive event, only those who understand cycling realise how big this event is.

“He felt like he let his country down, he felt like he let his team down. It’s a long way to come to have circumstances like this. He’ll learn by the experience.”

Christoph Roodhooft, Director of his Team Alpecin-Deceuninck said that van der Poel, who retired in the early stages of the 266.9 kilometre long (165.4 miles) race, was shattered by the experience.

“He didn’t sleep all night and was mentally a bit broken as well.

“He was expecting a lot of this day (race) and did all he could in the last two months after his bad Tour de France. He had found joy and happiness again in cycling and was hoping to have a nice race.”

Belgium ace Remco Evenepoel won the 6hrs 16min endurance test finishing 2min 21sec ahead of Frenchman Christophe Laporte.

The events that led to the pro-cyclist pleading guilty to assaulting two teenage girls further adds to the negative publicity the sport has received around spectators and fans in recent months.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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