Pictured: John with his 13-year-old daughter
A furious father has slammed an Australian court for allowing a Dutch Tour de France cyclist to leave the country with only a fine after he violently assaulted his 13-year-old daughter and her friends.
Mathieu van der Poel has avoided prison after assaulting the girl who was playing ‘hit and run’ with her two friends, sisters on a family holiday, in her hotel room in Sydney.
The cyclist was found guilty of two counts of common assault after knocking a girl to the ground and pushing another against a wall, grazing her elbow, at Novotel Brighton Le Sands on Saturday.
But yesterday he returned to the Netherlands after paying the $1,500 (£900) fine.
The father of one of the girls, named only John, told Daily Mail Australia the cyclist is expected to be behind bars and his daughter has been having nightmares ever since.
He said: ‘If I molested children I would be locked up in jail for a year because I can’t afford bail. Child abuse is a big thing.
Van der Poel, 27, said children didn’t stop the knock-and-run prank even after his girlfriend, Roxanne Bertels, asked them to.
But instead of alerting hotel staff, van der Poel decided to chase them into the opposite room.
Shocking photos obtained exclusively by Daily Mail Australia show the athlete – wearing only black briefs – leaning over a schoolgirl crouching on the floor and covering her face in terror.
When another girl, aged 13, tried to escape from the room, van der Poel pushed her against a wall with both hands, knocking her to the ground.
John is pictured with his three children. One of his daughters, 13, was attacked by the cyclist
John, 43, said his daughter had nightmares about the attack.
“We went to the hospital on Sunday and I’m taking her to the psychologist because she’s scared,” he said.
“She’s scared she’s in trouble and she’s done something wrong because some people are blaming her and me, saying it was the girls fault and I’m a bad parent, but that’s was the school holidays – what kids that age are going to bed at nine?
He explained that the kids shouldn’t have played the game, but that didn’t justify van der Poel’s “incredible” behavior.
Despite reports that the hotel called the police, John said it was his terrified daughter who alerted the authorities.
Novotel declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
Pictured: Mathieu van der Poel bent over a young girl – wearing only black briefs
Landing at Brussels airport on Tuesday en route to his homeland, van der Poel told local press he hadn’t handled the situation well, but insisted: “I’m not a person agressive.”
“I grabbed one of the girls by the arm but definitely not with the intention of hurting her,” he said at the airport on Tuesday, as passers-by began filming the interview on their phones. .
‘Those who know me know that I never hurt anyone… Of course I regret it, I made a mistake.
“In retrospect, I know I could have acted differently… I should have called reception or told someone, but I thought I could have solved the problem myself. It went wrong.
He was in Sydney for the UCI Road World Championship race – a 266.9km race taking place in Wollongong, south of the city – but pulled out because he was released from police custody in 4 am the morning of the race.
According to court documents, van der Poel grabbed a 14-year-old girl by both arms, grabbing them and pushing her against a wall while yelling at her. She has a carpet burn on her right elbow and redness on her left forearm.
Van der Poel’s girlfriend Roxanne Bertels (pictured together). He was fined $1,500 for the assault
Landing at Brussels airport on Tuesday, van der Poel (pictured at the airport) told local press he hadn’t handled the situation well, but insisted: ‘I’m not a aggressive person
The 13-year-old “was in the same room” while the cyclist assaulted the other girl. She then “attempted to leave the room”.
Van der Poel then approached and pushed her against a wall “with two open hands”, which caused her to fall “to the ground”.
The cyclist then returned to his room and the police arrived about five minutes later. van der Poel admitted to following the girls and yelling at them.
On Tuesday, the sisters’ father, Emad, provided a photo of his daughter’s injury showing layers of skin obliterated by a nasty carpet burn.
Emad said the angry cyclist was also “screaming at my youngest, the 12-year-old daughter, saying ‘were you doing that too’ and she was freaking out”. They are very shaken up.
“But they got in trouble. They’re in trouble,” he said of the “hit and run” prank the girls had engaged in before an enraged van der Poel lashed out at them.
“He has every right to get angry, but not to do what he did.
“They’re tiny little girls, and he’s huge.”
The young girls (pictured) who were caught up in last Saturday’s chilling incident in Sydney
The girls’ father, Emad, (pictured) said his daughters had been ‘a bit naughty’ and the cyclist had ‘perfect right to get angry, but not to do what he did’
The girls’ father, Emad, exclusively showed video of the incident to Daily Mail Australia and provided a photo of his daughter’s injury, with layers of skin obliterated by a nasty carpet burn (pictured)
Emad described the “good weekend in town” his wife, her friend and their four daughters were enjoying at the seaside hotel before van der Poel’s extraordinary assaults.
“My wife is angry that he fled the country and what he did,” Emad said.
Cyclists taking part in Sunday’s final round of the UCI Road World Championship had been accommodated in hotels across Sydney due to lack of rooms.
After dinner, the two mothers went to their shared hotel room, while the four young girls started playing next door.
“Look, I did things when I was their age, but the youngest had Covid just a few weeks ago and that was their time out,” Emad said.
“They were excited…but then they were a little mean.”