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WOLLONGONG, Australia (VN) — Mathieu van der Poel had a very challenging buildup for the road race at the UCI Road World Championships after the Dutchman was arrested by local police following an incident in his hotel Saturday evening.
According to a report by Belgian broadcaster Sporza, Van der Poel was involved in an altercation with two teenage girls who reportedly had been knocking on his door several times.
New South Wales police confirmed that a 27-year-old man was arrested at the Grand Parade Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney — where the Dutch team has been staying — on Saturday evening. He has been charged with two counts of common assault after he reportedly pushed the two teenagers in the altercation.
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Van der Poel was released by police and returned to his hotel room until around 4 a.m. He was granted bail on the condition of appearing in court Tuesday. According to Australian journalist Sophie Smith, police confiscated Van der Poel’s passport prior to his court appearance.
Van der Poel denied that he pushed the two teenagers. VeloNews has contacted the Dutch cycling federation for comment.
Although he started the road race Sunday morning, the Dutchman abandoned with about 230km to go.
“About 10:40 p.m. (Saturday, 24 September 2022), a man was at a hotel on The Grand Parade, Brighton-Le-Sands, when he was allegedly involved in a verbal altercation with two teenage girls – aged 13 and 14,” read a statement from the New South Wales Police, which was sent to VeloNews.
“It’s further alleged the man then pushed both teenagers, with one falling to the ground and the other being pushed into a wall causing a minor graze to her elbow. Hotel management was notified of the incident and then called police. Officers from St. George Police Area Command attended and arrested a 27-year-old man shortly after.
“He was taken to Kogarah Police Station and charged with two counts of common assault. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday, 27 September 2022.”
Dutch title hope Mathieu van der Poel was taken into police custody overnight following an incident at his accommodation. He returned to his room at 4am but is racing today. #Wollongong2022 @StanSportAU
— Sophie Smith (@SophieSmith86) September 25, 2022
Speaking to the press at the start of the race, Van der Poel confirmed that there he had confronted two children who he claimed had been knocking on his hotel room door.
“It’s true, yes. There was a small dispute. It was about noisy neighbors and they are quite strict here,” Van der Poel told Sporza at the start of the road race. “I went to bed early and many children in the hallway of my room found it necessary to knock on the door continuously.
“After a few times, I was done with it. I didn’t ask so nicely to stop. Then the police were called, and I was taken. I wasn’t back in my room until four o’clock.”