In the photo: John with his 13-year-old daughter.
An angry father has criticized an Australian court for allowing a Dutch Tour de France cyclist to leave the country with only a fine after brutally assaulting his 13-year-old daughter and her friends.
Mathieu van der Poel avoided jail after attacking the girl who was playing tag and run with her two friends, who were sisters on a joint family holiday, in their Sydney hotel room.
The cyclist was found guilty of two counts of common assault after he knocked a girl to the ground and pushed another against a wall, grazing her elbow, at the Novotel in 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 as John, told Daily Mail Australia that the cyclist should be behind bars and that his daughter has been having nightmares ever since.
He said: ‘If I assaulted children, I would be locked up in jail for a year because I can’t pay bail. Child abuse is a big thing.
Van der Poel, 27, said the children he didn’t stop the hit-and-run prank even after his girlfriend, Roxanne Bertels, asked him to.
But instead of alerting the hotel staff, van der Poel decided to chase them into the opposite room.
Shocking photos obtained exclusively by Daily Mail Australia show the athlete – clad only in black boxer shorts – leaning over a schoolgirl who was crouched on the ground and covering her face in terror.
When another girl, 13, tried to escape from the room, van der Poel pushed her against a wall with both hands, causing her to fall to the ground.
Juan appears in the photo with his three children. One of his daughters, 13 years old, was attacked by the cyclist
John, 43, said his daughter has been having nightmares about the assault.
“We went to the hospital on Sunday and I’m taking her to a psychologist because she’s scared,” he said.
“She’s worried that 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 it was the school holidays, what are the kids going to do next?” That age? Go to bed at nine?
He explained that the children should not have been playing, but that did not justify van der Poel’s “unbelievable” behaviour.
Despite reports that the hotel called the police, John said it was his terrified daughter who alerted authorities.
Novotel declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
In the photo: Mathieu van der Poel bending over a girl, wearing only black underpants
Landing at Brussels airport on Tuesday en route to his homeland, van der Poel told local media he did not handle the situation well, but insisted: “I am not an aggressive person.”
“I grabbed one of the girls by the arm, but certainly not with the intention of hurting her,” he said at the airport on Tuesday, as bystanders began filming the interview on their phones.
‘Anyone who knows me knows that I have never hurt anyone… Of course I regret it, I made a mistake.
“In hindsight, I know I could have done it differently… I should have called the front desk or let someone know, but I figured I could fix the problem myself.” She went wrong.
He was in Sydney for the UCI Road World Championships race, a 266.9km race taking place in Wollongong, south of the city, but withdrew because he was released from police custody at 4am. the morning of the race.
According to court documents, van der Poel grabbed a 14-year-old girl by both arms, squeezing them and pushing her against a wall while yelling at her. She had a rug burn scratch 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 media that he did not handle the situation well, but insisted: “I am not an aggressive person.”
The 13-year-old girl “was in the same room” while the cyclist attacked the other girl. She then “tried to leave the room.”
Van der Poel then approached and pushed her against a wall ‘with both open hands’, causing her to fall ‘to the ground’.
The cyclist then returned to his room and 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 ripped away by a nasty carpet burn.
Emad said the angry cyclist was also ‘yelling at my youngest daughter, the 12-year-old girl, saying ‘were you doing this too?’ and she was going crazy. They are very shocked.
But they got into trouble. They are in trouble,” he said of the “touch and run” joke the girls had made before an enraged Van der Poel attacked them.
He has every right to be angry, but not to do what he did.
They are tiny girls and he is huge.
The young women (pictured) who were involved in the terrifying incident last Saturday in Sydney
The girls’ father, Emad, (pictured) said his daughters had been “a bit naughty” and the cyclist “had every right to be 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 wound, with layers of skin ripped away by a nasty carpet burn (pictured)
Emad described the “good weekend in the city” that his wife, her friend and their four daughters were enjoying at the beachside hotel before van der Poel’s extraordinary attacks.
“My wife is angry that he fled the country and also because of what he did,” Emad said.
Riders competing in the final event on Sunday of the UCI Road World Championships had been housed in hotels in Sydney due to a shortage of rooms.
After dinner, the two mothers went to the hotel room they shared, while the four little girls began to play in the next room.
“Look, I did things when I was his age, but the youngest had Covid just a few weeks ago and this was his waiting time,” Emad said.
“They were excited…but then they got a little naughty.”