The World Cycling Championships in Australia was an outright flop for Mathieu van der Poel. He was one of the top favorites, but got off the bike after less than an hour. The reason? He had spent a night in jail.
The whole story was spread widely. Van der Poel was harassed late at night by 2 teenage girls who repeatedly knocked on his door. The Dutchman became irritated and followed them, a girl hurt her arm. The girls felt threatened, their parents informed the hotel management, who immediately called the police.
A few days later, Van der Poel had to appear before the Australian court. He fined him $1,000 for assaulting one girl and $500 for the other girl. In addition, he would not be able to enter Australia for 3 years.
But Van der Poel appealed, and successfully. This is written by various Australian media. Judge Ian Bourke ruled that Van der Poel’s behavior was “inappropriate”, but also found that it was in response to “annoying and disruptive behavior by the two girls” and created “considerable provocation”.
He therefore swept the fines and the entry ban off the table.
Van der Poel himself is busy with the cross season, but he was represented in court by his lawyer Michael Bowe. “This is a fantastic outcome,” he told ABC News.
“No one wants to carry a conviction for the rest of their life when you’re soft-hearted. I don’t think he should have been convicted, and the court agreed.”