Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel has been cleared of assaulting two teenage girls who disrupted his sleep in the night before a big race by an appeal court in Australia.
A lower court fined Van der Poel AU$1,500 (€1,000) after he admitted attacking two girls aged 13 and 14, after they repeatedly knocked on the door of his room the night before a world cycling road race.
Van der Poel, who has won stages in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, said he had pushed the two girls, causing one to fall over and the other to hit a wall, which resulted in a minor graze to her elbow.
Now a judge in Sydney has torn up the conviction, referring to the victims’ behaviour as ‘annoying and invasive’ which amounted to a ‘significant degree of provocation’ by ‘unsupervised children’ News.com.au reported.
Van der Poel’s lawyer Michael Bowe told Australian newswires that he had not yet spoken to his client but that he would be ‘very, very happy’.
‘He didn’t need a conviction, he’s a dedicated sportsman and cyclist,’ he said. ‘It’s really important these matters were dismissed.’
Van der Poel had been favourite to win the event, but pulled out after 30 kilometres.
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