Mathieu van der Poel left after an argument and a night at the police station

FABIO FERRARI / AFP Forced to retire after a sleepless night at the police station a few hours from the World Cycling Championships, Mathieu van der Poel left the race after about thirty kilometers.


Forced to retire after a sleepless night at the police station a few hours from the World Cycling Championships, Mathieu van der Poel left the race after about thirty kilometers.

CYCLING – From dream to nightmare. Mathieu van der Poel dreamed of wearing this rainbow cycling world champion jersey, but the Dutch sportsman, who was involved in an argument with two teenagers that night from Saturday to Sunday, was forced to spend the night at the post police before the start of the race, this Sunday, September 25.

Arrested by the Australian police on Saturday night before being released early in the morning, the Dutchman started the Worlds road race in Wollongong, the queen event where he is one of the big favorites this year. But the grandson of Raymond Poulidor got off after only thirty kilometers, tired and “out of mind”. The race was finally won by the Belgian Remco Evenepoel after a breakaway.

According to Christoph Roodhooft, the manager of his professional team Alpecin-Fenix, Mathieu van der Poel has “Didn’t sleep all night”after an incident that occurred on Saturday night at the Dutch hotel in Brighton-Le-Sands, in the southern suburbs of Sydney, revealed the Flemish chain Sporza.

Without disclosing, as usual, the identity of the multiple cyclocross world champion, the New South Wales police confirmed to AFP that a 27-year-old man, the age of the rider, has been charged with two charges. “aggression” against two teenage girls aged 13 and 14.

“At around 10.40pm on Saturday, a man was involved in a verbal dispute with two teenage girls aged 13 and 14 at a hotel in Brighton-Le-Sands. According to the alleged facts, he pushed the two girls, one fell to the ground and the other was thrown against the wall, causing a small scratch on his elbow.said the police in a statement.

“The hotel manager was notified and then called the police” and “a 27-year-old man was arrested a short time later”before becoming “brought to Kogarah police station”where he is “Charged with two counts of assault”, added the police. Released on bail, the Dutch rider was due to appear in court in Sutherland, in Sydney’s southern suburbs, on Tuesday.

Julian Alaphilippe wondered

As the race started on the line, Van der Poel did not deny the incident. “Yes indeed, there was a little dispute”he told reporters. “I wanted to go to bed early last night but there were many children in the hallway of the hotel who kept knocking on my door. After a while, I got tired of it. I told them, in a very unsympathetic way, to stop. That’s when the police were called and they took me away.” at the station, he said.

“Mathieu went to bed at 9 o’clock in the evening and in the middle of the night there was still noise. The children were playing in the hallway and knocking on her door. He came out to tell them to stop but obviously not in the right way”added Christoph Roodhooft, asked by the press.

Returned to his room “at 4 in the morning”, Van der Poel then did not sleep all night, according to his manager. “It’s not good at all, it’s a disaster, but I can’t do anything about it. I’ll do what I can”said the disappointed rider before starting.

He gave up after only thirty kilometers of racing, before rushing off in a white SUV, without saying a word. A clap of thunder shook the peloton. ” What ? He greeted me at the beginning! », launched double defending champion Julian Alaphilippe to his coach, Thomas Voeckler, when the latter approached him during the race to tell him that Van der Poel had “covered” (an expression meaning “to stop a race” to ride a bike).

“He’s so frustrated, he’s mentally broken”Christoph Roodhooft reported. “He has a lot of ambition for this race. He gained momentum in two months and rediscovered the joy of racing after his difficult Tour de France”. But instead of a potential podium, Mathieu van der Poel’s World Cup will therefore take him to the court on Tuesday.

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