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Video footage has emerged of the hotel incident in which Mathieu van der Poel assaulted two teenage girls the night before the World Championships road race.
The 27-year-old plead guilty and was fined $1,500AUD, as well as being barred from entering Australia for three years, after a confrontation with two girls aged 13 and 14 who were knocking on his hotel room door the night before the men’s elite road race at the Wollongong World Championships.
One short clip has appeared online, after being sent to multiple media outlets, showing one girl filming the other knocking on Van der Poel’s door before running away, the Dutchman whipping the door open and pursuing them into their own hotel room. Van der Poel, dressed only in his boxers, can be seen reaching out for one of the girls before the video cuts off.
A second video seen by Dutch publication AD documents an argument between Van der Poel and the girls’ parents, who were staying in a separate hotel room to their children.
Van der Poel: “I didn’t touch anybody.”
The mother: “Shut up, its on camera”
VDP: “Show me, no problem.”
TM: “You are not allowed in my room.”
VDP: “You are not allowed to knock my door for three fucking hours.”
TM: “You threatened us.”
VDP: “Then call the police and tell them about this.”
TM: “I already did. They are on their way.”
VDP: “Fine, are you sure?”
The oldest sister, who was apparently not one of the two playing ‘knock and run’ but applying a face mask in their room, is said to have told AD that her parents are not angry with her sisters but with Van der Poel, who they say came away from the incident lightly.
Police documents seen in court detail how the girls knocked on Van der Poel’s room multiple times around 10.40pm before running back to their room, leaving the rider “frustrated”.
“He waited for the victims to knock on his door and chased them into their hotel room, following close behind them,” the court documents state.
After entering their room, one of the girls ran into a corner, crouching and covering her face, the account of the incident continues. Van der Poel grabbed her by both arms, squeezing them and pushing her into a wall while yelling. The girl suffered a minor carpet burn graze to her right elbow as well as redness to her left forearm. Van der Poel then saw the second girl was trying to exit the room and pushed her against a wall with both of his hands. He then left the girls’ room and returned to his own.
Arriving home from Australia, Van der Poel offered a further statement to media present at the airport.
“I was able to sleep a little, but it has been a few stressful days. I would have imagined Australia completely differently, of course,” Van der Poel said, reported by Het Niewsblad. “The images that have surfaced? It shows what I said. I did indeed hold one girl by the arm, certainly not with the intent to hurt anyone. Anyone who knows me knows that I have never hurt anyone. There are a lot of stories going around about pushing and stuff, that’s absolutely not true and that’s not what happened. There are two versions of the story and then when you’re there in Australia it’s very difficult to deal with. Of course I’m sorry, I’m wrong too. I admit that.”
On the evening of Monday September 26, Van der Poel’s team, Alpecin-Deceuninck, released a statement:
“We have taken note of the events that took place in Wollongong in the past 48 hours. Needless to mention everyone loses here, and we can only regret that. Initially, our focus was on providing legal assistance on site and on helping Mathieu van der Poel to return home quickly,” the statement began. “Now that has happened, we want to get a clear picture of the course of events, through inspection of the complete file (we don’t have the court documents yet) and a conversation with Mathieu van der Poel and those involved at Team NL. Based on this, we will determine which further steps to take.
“We would like to emphasize that respect for others, inside and outside the peloton, is and always has been a core value of Alpecin-Deceuninck. That is why we want to follow up on this in an appropriate way. Only then will team Alpecin-Deceuninck and Mathieu van der Poel communicate about this again.”