Mathieu van der Poel’s assault convictions have been overturned

After an appeal following his conviction for assaulting two children, the Dutch cycling star will be allowed back to Australia.

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Mathieu van der Poel’s convictions and fines for common assault in Sydney, Australia, have been overturned on appeal.

The charges relate to a notorious incident the night before the UCI Road World Championships in September, where Van der Poel reacted explosively to ‘knock and run’ pranking from two girls at his hotel.

According to court documents, the children – sisters, aged 12 and 14 – began knocking on Van der Poel’s door around 10.40pm, and continued after his girlfriend Roxanne Bertels asked them to stop. A “frustrated” Van der Poel then chased the children into their hotel room, grabbing one of them by her arms and pushed her into the wall while yelling, leading to a carpet burn. He then pushed the other girl against a wall with both hands, before returning to his room.

New South Wales Police arrived at the hotel at 10.55pm, whereafter Van der Poel was taken into custody, charged and had his passport confiscated. He was returned to the hotel at around 4am, started the men’s road race in Wollongong – at which he was a favourite – six hours later, but withdrew less than an hour in.

Van der Poel (right) abandons the World Championships men’s road race as it enters Wollongong. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Van der Poel left Australia a few days later with assault convictions, $1,500AUD in fines and a three-year travel ban.

After an appeal from Van der Poel’s legal team, however, the convictions were overturned today in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court.

Michael Bowe, Van der Poel’s defence lawyer, told the court that the incident had caused his client “exceptional embarrassment and humiliation”, arguing that the travel ban would hamper his ability to compete internationally.

Judge Ian Bourke SC said that Van der Poel’s actions were a “response to annoying and invasive” behaviour, “silly conduct by unsupervised children”, and “a significant degree of provocation”. Bourke conceded that Van der Poel’s actions would have been “disturbing” for the two frightened children confronted by 27-year-old Van der Poel. Both convictions and the fine were quashed.

Bowe told NCA Newswire after the appeal that “[Van der Poel] didn’t need a conviction, he’s a dedicated sportsman and cyclist … it’s really important these matters were dismissed.”

His road season completed, Van der Poel is currently competing on the cyclocross circuit. He also finished on the podium of the UCI Gravel World Championships in October.

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