World Cycling Championships: from favorite to arrested, the chaotic night that sank van der Poel

Il voulait become champion du monde mais a passé la nuit au post: le champion cycliste neerlandais Mathieu van der Poel a vu son rêve virer au cauchemar ce de manche 25 septembre après une altercation avec deux adolescents et devra répondre “d’agression” devant la justice Australian.

Arrested by the police on Saturday night before being released early in the morning, the Dutchman took the start of the world road race in Wollongong, the queen event of which he was one of the great favorites. But he dismounted after only about twenty miles, exhausted and “mentally destroyed”.

According to Christoph Roodhooft, manager of his Alpecin-Fenix ​​professional team, the multiple cyclocross world champion has “I did not sleep all night”after an incident that occurred on Saturday night at the Dutch hotel in Brighton-Le-Sands, in the southern suburbs of Sydney, revealed by the Flemish chain Sporza.

We discussed between Julian Alaphilippe and Thomas Voeckler. The two-time defending champion learns of the abandonment of Mathieu van der Poel.
“- Van der Poel, pinned”
“- What? He greeted me at the beginning!”
“- Very well, except van der Poel, watch out.”#Wollongong2022

— The Gruppetto (@TheGruppetto) September 25, 2022

Without revealing, as usual, the identity of Van der Poel, the New South Wales police confirmed to AFP that a 27-year-old man, the age of the runner, had been charged with two cases of “assault” against two teenagers. . 13 and 14 years old. “At approximately 10:40 p.m. on Saturday, a man became involved in a verbal altercation with two teenagers aged 13 and 14 at a hotel in Brighton-Le-Sands. According to the alleged facts, he pushed the two teenage girls, one fell to the ground and the other was thrown against a wall, causing a small graze on her elbow,” police said in a statement.

“Hotel management was notified and then called the police” and “a 27-year-old man was arrested shortly thereafter”, before being “taken to the Kogarah Police Station”, where he was “charged with two counts of assault ”. the police added. Released on bail, Van der Poel will have to appear in court of Sutherland, again in Sydney’s southern suburbs, on Tuesday.

“I was fed up”

At the start of the online race, Van der Poel did not deny the incident. “Yes, it’s true, there was a little argument,” he told reporters. “I wanted to go to bed early last night but there was many children in the hall from the hotel that kept knocking on my door. After a while, he was fed up. I told them, in a not very understanding way, to stop. That’s when the police were called and they took me “to the station, he said.

“Mathieu went to bed at 9:00 pm and at midnight there was always noise. The children were playing in the hallway and banging on his door. She came out to tell them to stop, but obviously not in the right way,” said Christoph Roodhooft. , interviewed by the press. Returning to his room “at four in the morning,” Van der Poel did not I haven’t slept a wink all nightaccording to your computer technician.

“It’s certainly not ideal, it’s even a disaster, but I can’t do anything about it. I will do my best”, said the pilot before taking the start. He gave up after only one thirty kilometers race, before rushing into a white SUV, without saying a word. Thunder shook the platoon. “What? He greeted me at the start!” two-time defending champion Julian Alaphilippe snapped at his trainer, Thomas Voeckler, when the latter approached him during the race to tell him that Van der Poel had “covered up”.

“He is very disappointed, mentally destroyed,” reported Christoph Roodhooft. “He had high ambitions for this race. He had been gaining momentum for two months and had found the joy of racing after his difficult tour de franceBut instead of a potential podium finish, Mathieu van der Poel’s World Cup will bring him onto the pitch on Tuesday.

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