WOLLONGONG, Australia (AP) — Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel, one of the title favorites for the men's race at the road cycling world championships, has been arrested and charged by police for an alleged assault at the team's hotel on the eve of the race.
According to reports van der Poel became annoyed after children knocked on his hotel room door several times late on Saturday evening, eventually confronting them. The arm of one of the teenage girls was reportedly injured, leading to police being called and Van der Poel’s arrest.
The 27-year-old was taken to a local police station and charged with two counts of common assault, and granted conditional bail to appear at a local court on Sept. 27.
The Dutch star confirmed the incident shortly before Sunday's race, which he abandoned about an hour into the event.
“It’s true, yes. There was a small dispute,” said van der Poel to Belgian website Sporza. “It was about noisy neighbors 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. After a few times I was done with it. I did not kindly ask to stop. Then the police were called.
“I wasn’t back in my room until 4 o’clock. That’s certainly not ideal. It’s a disaster, but I can’t change anything anymore. I’m trying to make the best of it. It is on little sleep that I will race, hopefully on adrenaline.”
Later Sunday, New South Wales Police confirmed a 27-year-old was arrested and charged after allegedly being involved in an argument with two teenage girls at a Sydney hotel.
Police further allege the man pushed the two girls, with one falling over and the other hitting a wall, suffering a minor graze to her elbow.
Van der Poel started Sunday's 266.9-kilometer race but could be seen hanging off the back of the peloton with a supporting team mate by his side attemtping to nurse him through. Shortly after race officials confirmed the Dutch star had pulled out of the race.
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