Van der Poel abandons World Championships road race, 'mentally broken' following arrest

By Sports Desk September 25, 2022

Mathieu van der Poel abandoned the UCI Road World Championships on Sunday after he was left "mentally broken" from being arrested in Sydney.

The Dutchman was charged with two counts of common assault at Kogarah Police Station following an alleged incident involving two teenage girls at a hotel on Saturday evening.

Van der Poel was granted conditional bail by New South Wales Police and will appear at Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old had been among the favourites to be crowned world champion in Wollongong, but withdrew with 230 kilometres to go after revealing he only got back to his hotel from the police station at 4am.

Christoph Roodhooft, boss of the Alpecin-Deceuninck team Van der Poul rides for, said: "It was really unexpected. Obviously there were children bouncing at his door [in the hotel] and after the third he was p***** off with them. He went out and it seemed like it was children, teenagers, and someone called the police and they asked him to go to give an explanation.

"He was asked by the police to tell them what happened, then he could sign [papers] and then he could go. There were children in the corridor playing and he went out to ask them to stop but obviously not in the right way."

Roodhooft added of Van der Poel's withdrawal from the race: "We didn't talk about the situation, but sporting wise he was really disappointed. He didn't sleep all night and mentally he was a bit broken. He was expecting a lot from today and he did everything he could in the last two months after his bad Tour de France. He found joy and happiness again in cycling and was hoping for a nice race again."

Prior to the start of the race, Van der Poel explained what had occurred the night before.

He told Sporza: "It's true, yes. There was a small dispute. It was about noisy neighbours and they are quite strict here. I went to bed early and many children in the hallway of my room found it necessary to knock on the door continuously.

"After a few times, I was done with it. I didn't ask so nicely to stop. Then the police were called, and I was taken. I wasn't back in my room until four o'clock."

NSW Police said in a statement: "About 10.40pm (Saturday 24 September 2022), a 27-year-old man was at a hotel on The Grand Parade, Brighton-Le-Sands, when he was allegedly involved in a verbal altercation with two teenage girls – aged 13 and 14.

"It's further alleged the man then pushed both teenagers, with one falling to the ground and the other being pushed into a wall causing a minor graze to her elbow.

"Officers from St George Police Area Command attended and arrested a 27-year-old man shortly after. He was taken to Kogarah Police Station and charged with two counts of common assault.

"He was granted conditional bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday 27 September 2022."

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