Action will be taken after spectator throws cycling cap towards Mathieu van der Poel’s wheels at Paris-Roubaix

‘We’ll find that person, that’s for sure’ says the head of the CPA

Clock18:06, Sunday 7th April 2024
Mathieu van der Poel on his way to the win at Paris-Roubaix

© Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poel on his way to the win at Paris-Roubaix

The UNCP (Union Nationale des Cyclistes Professionnels) is set to file a report with the French authorities after a spectator appeared to throw a cycling cap towards the wheels of Mathieu van der Poel as the world champion rode to victory in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

The footage was captured on television with around 42km to go, whilst Van der Poel was already off the front and heading for his second straight win in the French Monument.

As he raced through a sector of cobbles a spectator on the left-hand side of the Dutchman appeared to throw a cycling cap towards the rider's wheels. Luckily for Van der Poel, no harm came from the incident but such action could have easily caused Van der Poel to crash – or at the very least slow – if the cap had become caught in his wheels.

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The UNCP are the French members of the CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés) and as the race took place on French soil are responsible for alerting the local authorities to the incident.

“We use the national federations to take them to court,” CPA president Adam Hansen told GCN on Sunday evening after watching the incident.

“The CPA can’t do it because we’re a Swiss organisation but our members, so in this case the French association, the UNCP, can take the individual to court. They’ll file their report to the local authorities and they’ll do a full investigation. We’ll find that person, that’s for sure.”

This isn’t the first time Van der Poel has faced such behaviour. At the Tour of Flanders last weekend the Dutch rider had beer thrown at him by a spectator on the roadside.

Read more: Cyclo-cross organisers working with police to tackle abusive spectators after Van der Poel spitting incident

The CPA and UNCP also have a historical track record of finding spectators who have caused incidents and pursuing them in civil courts. A spectator who caused a huge crash at the Tour de France in 2021 was fined €1,200 by a French court and forced to pay a token €1 to the UNCP.

“We’ve got good experiences from this in the past, if you look back to what happened at the Tour de France when Tony Martin was taken down by a spectator and the UNCP took that person to court and that case was won. So we do file actions and that person was fined. 

"It looked like a hat. It was on the side of the rotor and with disc brakes, if that had got caught and pulled into the disc brake it could have locked his front wheel up. It could have been pretty bad,” Hansen added.

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