World Cup contender Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel pleads guilty to assault

Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel has left Australia after pleading guilty in Sutherland court yesterday for assaulting two teenage girls in Sydney, his lawyer has said.

The incident took place on the night before the men’s world championship road race, which Van der Poel was among the favorites to win in Wollongong on Sunday, but dropped out early.

Attorney Michael Bowe said the facts presented to the court detailed how the cyclist was repeatedly awakened in the middle of the night by two young girls who were running.

But then Van der Poel took matters into his own hands.

“He opens the door and then they run back to their room where the door is open,” Bowe told ABC Radio.

“He follows them there. He tells them he’s trying to race the next day, to be quiet. They’ve harassed him.

“And he’s frustrated, and he grabs one of the girl’s arms, and as he goes out of the room, he collides with the other girl.

“He has put out his hands and collides with her. Those are the facts in general.’

Lawyer Michale Bowe represented Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel in Sutherland Court.(Provided: Michael Bowe)

Bowe said he assumed the teenage girls’ parents came home and complained to the night manager. Then the police showed up.

Novotel Brighton-Le-Sands, where the cyclist was staying, declined to comment on the incident.

Tried to race with two hours of sleep

The lawyer said Van der Poel lined up and started the 270-kilometer race with about two hours of sleep, but withdrew in the early stages.

“He probably got two hours of sleep at best. Not a great way to line up for a world championship,” Bowe said.

Bowe said his client, who had now left the country, felt he was abandoning his team and his country.

“This is the only race throughout the season or year where you represent your country,” he said.

“So it feels like he’s let his country down. It feels like he’s let his team down, and all he was trying to do was just get some sleep.

“I think he’s pretty resilient, but he was shattered. When he was convicted, you could see his girlfriend crying.”

The 27-year-old was convicted of two counts of common assault and fined $1,500.

The organizers of the Wollongong 2022: UCI Road World Championships declined to comment.

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