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Van der Poel left Australia after being convicted of ‘assault’

The Dutch runner was finally able to leave the island-continent after pleading guilty before the Australian courts.

He pleaded “guiltyBut was able to leave Australia: Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel was sentenced to simple fines on Monday, after his altercation with two teenage girls and his night at the post, causing his abandonment at the Worlds on Sunday. According to his professional team Alpecin-Fenix, Van der Poel, 27, one of the great figures of the current peloton, left Australia and was on Monday evening “on the way home“. The team did not give details of Van der Poel’s arrival time and location, but told AFP he was expected to return on Tuesday.

Sunday morning, the information had caused amazement in Wollongong (south-east), on the starting line of the queen event of the world championships, of which the Dutchman was one of the favorites: arrested by the police, the runner had spent most of the night at the police station, accused of violence against two teenage girls aged 13 and 14, whose nocturnal noise at his hotel prevented him from sleeping. If he had been able to start the race, Van der Poel had quickly retired, “mentally destroyed», selon Christoph Roodhooft, manager de Alpecin-Fenix.

free to go

The multiple cyclo-cross world champion, winner of numerous road classics, was initially summoned to court in Sutherland, near Sydney, on Tuesday amid rumors that he was unable to leave the territory. But Mathieu van der Poel chose to plead guilty on Monday and was immediately sentenced to two fines, of 1,000 dollars and 500 Australian dollars (1,010 euros in total), for “assault“, we learned from a judicial source. According to his lawyer, Michael Rowe, the runner intends to appeal later, but was then free to leave Australia.

On Sunday, without revealing the identity of the defendant, as usual, the New South Wales police confirmed to AFP that a 27-year-old man had been charged with two cases.aggression». «At around 10.40pm on Saturday, a man was involved in a verbal altercation with two teenage girls aged 13 and 14 at a hotel in Brighton-Le-Sands. According to the alleged facts, he pushed the two teenage girls, one falling to the ground and the other being thrown against a wall, causing a small scratch on her elbow“, had specified the police.

At the start of the race, Mathieu 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 (Saturday night, editor’s note) but there were plenty of children in the hallway of the hotel who kept knocking on my door. After a while, I was fed up. I told them, in a not very sympathetic way, to stop. That’s when the police were called and took me away“, he continued.

Disaster

Questioned by the press, the manager of Alpecin-Fenix ​​had delivered the same story. Returned to his roomat four in the morning“, Van der Poel had then not closed the eye of the night, had added Christoph Roodhooft. “It’s certainly not ideal, it’s even a disaster, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I will do my best“, had commented the runner, before giving up after about thirty kilometers, then rushing into an SUV without a word.

The news had only filtered late among his opponents, shaking the peloton. “What? He said hello to me on departure!“, had launched the double holder of the French title Julian Alaphilippe to his coach, Thomas Voeckler, who informed him during the race of the reason for the abandonment of the Dutchman. In his absence, it is the main favorite of the event, the Belgian Remco Evenepoel, who became world champion on Sunday.

«Needless to mention that everyone loses here, and we can only regret it“, said Alpecin-Fenix ​​in a press release Monday evening, specifying that he wanted to have”a clear picture of the course of events» et «a conversation with Mathieu van der Poel“before deciding on the”next steps». «Respect for others, inside and outside the peloton, is and always has been a core valueof the team, she pointed out.

At the end of the season, will Mathieu van der Poel, twice Dutch road champion (2018, 2020) and stage winner on the 2021 Tour, turn the page on this affair quickly? By giving up on Sunday, “he feels he has let his country down. It takes a series of many things to arrive at such circumstances… He will learn the lesson“, further estimated his lawyer, Me Rowe.

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