Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel has pleaded guilty to assaulting two teenagers on the eve of the road cycling world championships and was fined a total of 1,500 Australian dollars ($974.85), he said. his lawyer on Monday.
The 27-year-old athlete was charged with two counts of common assault after a confrontation with the girls – 13 and 14 years old – who, according to him, repeatedly knocked on his door and then ran away.
Police in New South Wales said one of the teens fell to the ground and the other suffered a minor graze on her elbow after being pushed against a wall. The police were called when the hotel management was notified and the girls’ father filed a complaint.
“We reviewed the relevant events that occurred, he was detained by the police, he was interviewed by the police and he said certain things to the police,” Van der Poel’s lawyer, Michael Bowe, told Reuters.
“Mathieu agreed with some of those accusations. In discussing it, it was agreed that he should plead guilty. In Australia, if you plead guilty you can get away without conviction … but that was not the case here,” he added.
Bowe confirmed that he will appeal his conviction on two counts of assault. Van der Poel has also been allowed to leave the country after his passport was returned.
The cyclist, who was one of the favorites to win Sunday’s race in the coastal city of Wollongong, subsequently dropped out after just 30 of the 267-kilometre test.
Belgian Remco Evenepoel won the world road cycling title with a solo breakaway.