To go bikingConvicted, Mathieu van der Poel pleads guilty and can leave Australia
The Dutch cyclist faces a fine after being charged with violence against two teenage girls the day before the World Championships, where he quickly quit.
He pleaded ‘guilty’ but may leave Australia: Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel was sentenced to a simple fine on Monday after falling out with two teenage girls and spending his night at the post, leading to his exit at the World Championships on Sunday. According to his lawyer Michael Rowe, van der Poel, 27, one of the big figures in the current peloton, should now leave the country immediately.
On Sunday morning, the information in Wollongong (southeast) caused astonishment, at the starting line of the king’s race of the world championships, where the Dutchman was one of the favourites: Arrested by the police, the runner had spent most of the night at the police station, charged for violence against two teenage girls, aged 13 and 14, whose nighttime noise at his hotel prevented him from sleeping.
If he had been able to start the race, van der Poel would have given up quickly, “mentally devastated”, according to Christoph Roodhooft, manager of his professional team Alpecin-Fenix.
Can’t wait to go
The multiple cyclocross world champion and winner of numerous road classics was initially summoned to court in Sutherland near Sydney on Tuesday amid rumors he could not leave the territory.
But Mathieu van der Poel opted to plead guilty on Monday and was immediately sentenced to two fines of $1,000 and A$500 for “assault,” a court source told us. According to his lawyer, the runner intends to appeal later but is free to leave Australia. “I have no doubt that after all this he is dying to leave the country,” added Dutch TV channel Me Rowe.
On Sunday, without revealing the identity of the accused, New South Wales Police confirmed that a 27-year-old man had been charged with two counts of assault. “Around 10.40pm on Saturday, a man was involved in a verbal altercation with two teenage girls aged 13 and 14 at a hotel in Brighton-Le-Sands. According to the alleged facts, he pushed the two teenagers, one falling to the ground and the other being thrown against a wall, giving her a small scratch on her elbow,” police said.
At the start of the race, Mathieu van der Poel did not deny the incident. “Yes, it’s true, there was a little argument,” he told reporters. “I wanted to go to bed early, but there were a lot of kids in the hotel corridor who kept knocking on my door. After a while I got fed up. I told them in a not very compassionate way to stop. Then the police were called and took me away,” he continued.
Questioned by the press, the Alpecin-Fenix manager had provided the same story. When Van der Poel returned to his room “at four in the morning” he had not slept all night, Christoph Roodhooft added. “It’s certainly not ideal, it’s even a disaster, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ll do my best,” the runner commented before giving up after about thirty kilometers and then storming into an SUV without a word.
The news reached his opponents late and shook the peloton. “What? He greeted me at the beginning!” He had guided the double French title holder Julian Alaphilippe to his trainer Thomas Voeckler, who informed him during the race of the reason for the Dutchman’s withdrawal. In his absence, it is the big favorite of the event , the Belgian Remco Evenepoel, who became world champion on Sunday.
Will Mathieu van der Poel, two-time Dutch road champion (2018, 2020) and stage winner of the 2021 Tour, quickly turn the page on this matter at the end of the season? By retiring on Sunday, “he feels like he has failed his country. It takes a number of many things to get into circumstances like that… He’ll learn the lesson,” his attorney, Me Rowe, said.
#Cycling #Convicted #Mathieu #van #der #Poel #pleads #guilty #free #leave #Australia