Mathieu van der Poel: Dutch cyclist pleads guilty to common assault of girls on eve of world championships | Cycling - petsitterbank

Mathieu van der Poel: Dutch cyclist pleads guilty to common assault of girls on eve of world championships | Cycling

Dutch cycling star Mathieu van der Poel will attempt to overturn a conviction for assaulting two teenage girls in a Sydney hotel the night before the men’s world championship road race.

The Tour de France stage winner was arrested hours before Sunday’s race in Wollongong where the 27-year-old was one of the favourites.

Van der Poel had confronted two girls – grabbing one on the arm and pushing the other – after he says they repeatedly knocked on his hotel door on Saturday night and ran away.

After the two-time Tour of Flanders champion pleaded guilty on Monday, Sutherland local court magistrate Hugh Donnelly convicted him and ordered he pay fines of A$1,000 and A$500 for the two common assaults.

The grandson of famed French cyclist Raymond Poulidor was to lead the Dutch team in Sunday’s 266.9km race but withdrew within the first 30km. Bauke Mollema finished best placed for the Netherlands in 25th.

“I have [Van der Poel] admits he dealt with it inappropriately but still there’s an explanation,” criminal lawyer Michael Bowe said.

“The damage he suffered was enormous. He feels like he’s let his whole country down and his whole team from him.

With the court matter over and his bail conditions no longer in effect, Van der Poel was able to retrieve his passport and fly out of the country on Monday evening.

However, Bowe will lodge a sentence appeal on Tuesday morning in the district court, seeking to set aside the convictions.

New South Wales police had alleged the cyclist pushed two girls in the hallway of his Brighton-Le-Sands hotel, with one falling over and the other hitting a wall, suffering a minor graze to her elbow.

Van der Poel’s CV includes four cyclocross world championships, stage wins in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia and several victories in the one-day spring classics.

He wore the yellow jersey for six stages in the 2021 Tour and represented the Netherlands in mountain biking at the Tokyo Olympics.

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