Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel pleads guilty to common assault of girls

Dutch cycling star Mathieu van der Poel pleads guilty to the common assault of girls on the eve of world championships, and he will attempt to overturn a conviction for this assault.

Mathieu was arrested hours before Sunday’s race in Wollongong for assaulting two teenage girls in a Sydney hotel the night before the men’s world championship road race.

On Saturday night, Mathieu confronted two girls, he grabbed one on the arm and pushed the other, and he said they had repeatedly knocked on his hotel door and ran away.

After pleading guilty on Monday, Hugh Donnelly, Sutherland’s local court magistrate, convicted him and ordered him to pay fines of A$1,000 and A$500 for the two common assaults.

Mathieu was to lead the Dutch team in Sunday’s 266.9km race but withdrew within the first 30km, and Bauke Mollema finished best placed for the Netherlands in 25th.

The criminal lawyer Michael Bowe said Mathieu admits he dealt with it inappropriately, but still, there’s an explanation. The damage he suffered was enormous, and he feels like he’s let his whole country and his whole team down, the lawyer said.

On Monday evening, with the court matter over, Mathieu was able to retrieve his passport and fly out of the country. However, Bowe will enter a sentence appeal on Tuesday morning in the district court, in which he will seek to set aside the convictions.

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