Mathieu van der Poel to face court in Sydney after assault charge

Mathieu van der Poel, pictured here after withdrawing from the cycling world championships in Wollongong.
Mathieu van der Poel has withdrawn from the cycling world championships in Wollongong. Image: Getty/AAP

Dutch cycling star Mathieu van der Poel will face court in Sydney on Tuesday after being charged with assault.

He was arrested only hours before Sunday's men's world championship road race, where van der Poel was one of the title favourites.

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The 27-year-old started the 266.9km race that finishes in Wollongong, but withdrew about an hour into the event.

"I went to bed early and many children in the hallway of my room found it necessary to knock on the door continuously," the rider told the Belgian website Sporza before the start of the race.

Mathieu van der Poel, pictured here competing in the men's road race in Wollongong.
Mathieu van der Poel (centre) competes in the men's road race in Wollongong. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

"After a few times I was done with it. I didn't ask so nicely to stop. Then the police were called and I was taken.

"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."

NSW Police said a 27-year-old man was allegedly involved in an argument with two teenage girls at a hotel in the Sydney suburb of Brighton-Le-Sands.

Police said it was alleged the man pushed the two girls, with one falling over and the other hitting a wall, suffering a minor graze to her elbow.

Mathieu van der Poel's girlfriend Roxanne Bertels, pictured here at the the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong.
Mathieu van der Poel's girlfriend Roxanne Bertels at the the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong. (Photo by DIRK WAEM/Belga/Sipa USA)

Multiple media reports identified the man as Van der Poel. The Dutch team has been based at Brighton-Le-Sands for the world championships.

Van der Poel was taken to Kogarah Police Station and charged with two counts of common assault.

Media reports said he was with police until about 4am, with the race starting at 10.15am.

He was released on bail and will appear in Sutherland court on Tuesday.

Mathieu Van der Poel 'shattered' after withdrawal

Christoph Roodhooft, a director of his Team Alpecin-Deceuninck, said the rider was shattered.

"He didn't sleep all night and was mentally a bit broken as well," Roodhooft told reporters.

"He was expecting a lot of this day (race) and did all he could in the last two months after his bad Tour de France.

"He had found joy and happiness again in cycling and was hoping to have a nice race today."

Roodhooft confirmed Van der Poel was taken to a police station "to make an explanation, and that's what happened".

"He was asked by a police officer to tell them what happened and sign, then he could go."

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