He wanted to become world champion but ended up at the police station: Dutch cycling champion Mathieu van der Poel went from a dream to a nightmare on Sunday and will now have to answer to the Australian justice for assaulting two teenagers.
Arrested by the police on Saturday night before being released early in the morning, the Dutchman took the start of the world road race in Wollongong, the queen event of which he was one of the great favorites. But he dismounted after only thirty kilometers, exhausted and “mentally destroyed”.
“I would have pushed the two teenagers”
According to Christoph Roodhooft, director of his professional Alpecin-Fenix team, the multiple cyclocross world champion “has not slept all night”, after an incident that occurred on Saturday night at the Dutch hotel in Brighton-Le-Sands, in southern Sydney Suburbs, revealed by the Flemish channel Sporza. Without revealing Van der Poel’s identity, New South Wales police confirmed that a 27-year-old man, the same age as the runner, had been charged with two assaults on two teenagers aged 13 and 14.
“At around 10:40pm on Saturday, a man was involved in a verbal altercation with two teenage boys aged 13 and 14 at a hotel in Brighton-Le-Sands. According to the alleged facts, he pushed the two teenage girls, one fell to the ground and the other was thrown against a wall, causing a small graze on her elbow,” police said in a statement.
“Hotel management was notified and then called the police” and “a 27-year-old man was arrested shortly thereafter”, before being “taken to the Kogarah Police Station” where he was “charged with two counts of assault”. police said. additional. Released on bail, Van der Poel is now due in court in Sutherland on Tuesday.
At the start of the online race, 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 last night, but there were many children in the hotel corridor who kept knocking on my door. After a while, he was fed up. I told them, in a not very understanding way, to stop. That’s when they called the police and took me” to the station, he said.
A summons to court on Tuesday
“Mathieu went to bed at 9pm and at midnight there was still noise. The children played in the hall and knocked on his door. She went out to tell them to stop but obviously not in the right way, ”said Christoph Roodhooft, interviewed by the press.
Returning to his room “at four in the morning,” Van der Poel did not sleep a wink all night, according to his team manager. “It’s certainly not ideal, it’s even a disaster, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I will do my best”, said the runner before taking the start. He gave up after only twenty miles of running, before hurtling into a white SUV without saying a word.
Thunder shook the platoon. “What? He greeted me at the start! He threw two-time champion Julian Alaphilippe at his trainer, Thomas Voeckler, when the latter approached him during the race to tell him that Van der Poel had “covered up”. “He is very disappointed, mentally destroyed”, reported Christoph Roodhooft. “He had high ambitions for this race. He had been building momentum for two months and had found the joy of racing after his difficult Tour de France. »
But instead of a potential podium finish, Mathieu van der Poel’s World Cup will be played on the pitch on Tuesday.