The UCI commissioners have fined Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 250 Swiss francs after spitting at a group of booing spectators during the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Hulst on Saturday.
The World Champion stated following the race that his actions were in response to the behaviour of a group of spectators toward him during the race, “Even during the warm-up. I’ve had enough of those boos,” he said.
The Dutchman was asked if he would later regret his actions, and he replied: “After a while, it’s enough, even for me.”
Van der Poel attacked on the third lap and pulled out a winning margin before relaxing on the last lap of the World Cup in Hulst. However, while taking his last lap applause, the Alpecin–Deceuninck rider was pictured spitting at a group of spectators, who he claims had been booing him all afternoon.
The organisers of the race expressed their disappointment regarding the spectators’ misconduct, saying, “These types of spectators do not belong on our cross [race].” They also confirmed that the same spectators also pushed two of the event’s press photographers.
“More than 22,000 spectators saw how the Netherlands added colour to both elite stages, with winners Puck Pieterse and Mathieu van der Poel taking center stage. Unfortunately, there was also a dark side to this beautiful day. One that certainly tempers the euphoric feeling,” the organisers wrote in a post on Facebook.
“A few among those thousands of other – exemplary – supporters felt it necessary not only to taunt and pelt Mathieu van der Poel with beer. Two press photographers were also carelessly pushed into the water by a bunch of miscreants. As an organization we are very clear about this: these types of people do not belong on our [event] or on any other cyclo-cross course or sports competition.”
The organisers stated that they would take measures to prevent spectator misconduct at their future events.
“After all, we cannot allow the good name of our competition to be destroyed by these individuals. Have a very happy New Year, and we would love to see you all, with those exceptions, back next year.”