Dutch cyclist arrested over girls’ assault accusation in Australia; Drops out of championship race
Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel dropped out of the final day of the World Cycling Championships in Australia after a sleepless night. He was arrested on Saturday evening for an altercation with children who he says repeatedly knocked on the door of his hotel room, according to RTL Nieuws.
Australian police told the AFP that a 27-year-old man is suspected of assaulting two teenage girls in the hall of the hotel room by pushing them, giving one a small abrasion. Due to privacy rules, they cannot say if the man was Van der Poel.
The cyclist says he confronted noisy teenagers in the hall of the hotel and "didn't ask so kindly for them to stop," according to RTL. However, he told his team manager that he didn't touch the girls, according to Cycling News.
"Right opposite his room were two rooms with children. Mathieu went to sleep at 9 p.m., but was still awake three hours later because there was continuous noise in the hallway," said Van der Poel's manager Christoph Roodhooft. "When [the knocking] happened to him for the third time, he went outside. It turned out that no parents were there. Mathieu was angry."
The police were called and Van der Poel was taken to the station, where he was held until 4 a.m. to make a statement. His passport was confiscated according to protocol, RTL reports.
Despite the late hours, the Dutch cyclist still decided to participate in the final day of the World Champtionships. "It is on little sleep that I will race, I hope I can do it on adrenaline," he said before starting, according to RTL. "It's a disaster, but I can't change anything anymore. I'm trying to make the best of it." In the end, however, Van der Poel stopped 30 kilometers into the 267-kilometer race.
Australian police say the 27-year-old man matching Van der Poel's description is on conditional bail and will appear in court on Sept. 27, according to Cycling News.