Mathieu van der Poel has been acquitted on appeal of the assault of two teenage girls just before the World Championships on the road in Australia. The Dutch cyclist does not have to pay a fine and can re-enter the country. This is reported by his lawyer Michael Bowe ABC News.
“It is a great outcome, because no one wants to carry a conviction with them for the rest of their life, especially if you are a friendly person by nature,” said the lawyer.
Van der Poel was arrested in his hotel on the evening before the road race in September and taken to the police station, because he allegedly assaulted two noisy girls in the hotel corridor. The 27-year-old rider confessed that he had grabbed one of the girls by the arm and was sentenced by an Australian judge to a fine of 1,500 Australian dollars, the equivalent of about 1,000 euros. He was also banned from entering the country for three years.
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Those sentences have been suspended now that Van der Poel was upheld on appeal by the Sydney Court, which ruled that the children’s behavior was ‘annoying’. The judge said there was a “significant level of provocation” and “foolish behavior by unsupervised children.” He stated that Van der Poel had already been sufficiently punished for the facts with the failed World Cup and the media storm.
Van der Poel still started in the road race, but he gave up after 30 kilometers. “The allegations against Mathieu were unjustified and the judge has also recognized that,” said Bowe. According to the judge, the girls had been annoying and intrusive, even though Van der Poel should not have let himself go like that.
“The incident has had a major impact on his career,” said lawyer Bowe. “Getting out of the race was a big loss. It was the chance for him to become world champion and it was taken away from him. He felt that he had let his country down. Moreover, he has shown sincere remorse for his behavior.”
Van der Poel himself was not present at the appeal hearing. He is currently on a training internship in Spain. On Sunday he will start in the cyclocross race for the World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy.
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