Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel, who was one of the title favourites for the World Championship road race, was arrested and charged by police for an alleged assault on the eve of the event in Wollongong, Australia.
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 while he was granted conditional bail to appear at a local court on Sept. 27.
Van der Poel 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,” Van der Poel told 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 had been 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-kilometre race but could be seen hanging off the back of the peloton with a supporting teammate by his side attempting to nurse him through. Shortly after race officials confirmed the Dutch star had pulled out of the event.