Van der Poel arrested night before Worlds race

Van der Poel still started the race on Sunday morning despite his arrest

Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel was arrested and charged with assaulting two teenagers in Sydney the night before the men’s World Championship road race.

The 27-year-old, a Tour de France stage winner, was among the favourites to win Sunday’s race in Wollongong.

He was charged with two counts of common assault after police were called to his hotel on Saturday night.

Van der Poel started the race but dropped out early on.

The Road World Cycling Championships have been taking place for the past week in Wollongong, with the 267km elite men’s race – the final event – taking place on Sunday.

Van der Poel, a two-time Tour of Flanders winner and four-time cyclocross world champion, told Belgian sports website Sporzaexternal-link he confronted two children who were knocking on his hotel room door “continuously”.

He said that after he was charged he did not return to his hotel room until 04:00 local time.

New South Wales police said: “He was allegedly involved in a verbal altercation with two teenage girls – aged 13 and 14.

“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.

“Hotel management were notified of the incident who then called police.”

The police said he has been bailed to appear at a local court on Tuesday.

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