Mathieu van der Poel at police station night before World Championship road race, abandons

27-year-old man arrested after altercation at hotel Dutch riders were staying in

Mathieu van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel abandoned the World Championship road race in Wollongong on Sunday morning, hours after he spent time at a police station.

The Dutchman was allegedly involved in an argument over noise at his Dutch hotel in New South Wales, Australia, on Saturday evening. Belgian outlet Sporza reported that Van der Poel became annoyed after teenagers knocked on his room door several times, after which he challenged them.

"It's true, yes,” Van der Poel told the media ahead of the race. “There was a small dispute. It was about noisy neighbours and they are quite strict here. 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." 

Van der Poel then abandoned the elite men's road race inside the first 35km of the 266.9km event, after returning to his hotel at 4am. The men's race started at 10:15am local time.

New South Wales police said that a 27-year-old man was arrested at the Grand Parade Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney on Saturday evening. He has been charged with two counts of common assault after he reportedly pushed the two teenagers in the incident.

“It’s further alleged the man then pushed both teenagers, with one falling to the ground and the other being pushed into a wall causing a minor graze to her elbow,” the NSW police statement said. 

“Hotel management were notified of the incident who then called police," it continued.

"Officers from St George Police Area Command attended and arrested a 27-year-old man shortly after. He was taken to Kogarah Police Station and charged with two counts of common assault.

“He was taken to Kogarah Police Station and charged with two counts of common assault. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday 27 September 2022.”

Van der Poel, who has not been confirmed as the man arrested, gave his side of the story to Sporza. He denied pushing the children.

“I went to bed early and many children in the hallway of my room found it necessary to knock on the door,” he said. “After a few times I was done with it. I did not kindly ask to stop. Then the police were called.”

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.