Mathieu van der Poel has been fined AU$1500 for confronting two teenage girls on Saturday night prior to the men’s elite road race at the Cycling Road World Championships in Wollongong.
The Alpecin–Deceuninck rider was set to appear in court on Tuesday but has been allowed to fly home to catch his flight and his passport is back in his hands after it was confiscated.
Van der Poel allegedly pushed one of the girls against a wall and another to the floor, injuring her arm as the teenagers were repeatedly knocking on his door which prevented him from sleeping.
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A statement from New South Wales read: "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 were notified of the incident, who then called police. Officers from St George police area command attended and arrested a 27-year-old man shortly after.”
The incident took place at approximately 22:30 New South Wales time, with Van der Poel previously denying his alleged pushing of the youngsters. His lawyer indicated he will appeal the court’s decision to fine him.
He was arrested and spent most of the night in custody before returning to his hotel at 04:00 on Sunday morning, so had very little sleep before the road race.
“There was a small dispute,” Van der Poel told Sporza. “It was about noisy neighbours and they are quite strict here. 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."
He added: "That’s certainly not ideal. It’s a disaster but I can’t change anything anymore. I’m trying to make the best of it.
“It is on little sleep that I will race, hopefully on adrenaline. It was certainly not fun. It is what it is, I have to deal with it."
Van der Poel, who was one of the favourites for the road race which was won by Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel, started the event but pulled out after around 25 kilometres.
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