Mathieu van der Poel, one of the favourites for the 2022 World Championships – has abandoned the event after an incident at his hotel on the eve of the race.
Police have confirmed there was a noise complaint reported, and a scuffle, possibly involving ‘a number of youths’ outside MVDP’s hotel room. There are reports the star rider was in fact arrested and will appear in court at a later date. Van der Poel has denied pushing the youths.
Speaking with Belgian outlet Sporza at the start, van der Poel said “there was a small dispute. It was about noisy neighbours and they are quite strict here.”
“I went to bed early and many children in the hallway of my room found it necessary to knock on the door continuously,” van der Poel added. “After a few times I was done with it. I didn’t ask so nicely to stop – the police were called and I was taken in to speak with them.”
Van der Poel said he returned to his hotel room at 4am. “That’s certainly not ideal,” he told Sporza. “It’s a disaster, but I can’t change anything anymore. I’m trying to make the best of it.”
Bicycling Australia’s Peter Maniaty said the news was astonishing, and MVDP was a clear favourite for the Rainbow Jersey.
“I’ve never seen him looking so lean, he was clearly ready to get over some hills today,” Maniaty told us. “He looked ready to race – ready to win a World Championship. He will be absolutely devastated.”
“When you’re someone like him you don’t travel half way round the world for a holiday,” Maniaty continued.
“He’s abandoned the first time over the finish line. What has happened last night is a lot to go through his head … its no wonder he’s not focused.”
Maniaty said “the Dutch, they’ve gone from sublime to the ridiculous in a matter of days.”
“I’m pretty sure it’s the first time he has raced in Australia … he may never come back. Let’s hope that’s not the case but – between the magpies and this – it’s not his best initiation to Australia.”
Court Appearance Pending
There are reports MVDP will appear in Sutherland Court on Tuesday September 27, and in the meantime has also had his passport confiscated.
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