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Aussie cyclist wins payout for "Cheat" slur

Radio station forced to pay $350,000 plus costs


Australian track cyclists Mark French has won $350,000 payout from a radio station that called him a "dirty, stinking, dobbing cyclist". The comments were made on the Triple M station's breakfast show The Cage, (now defunct), by presenters James Brayshaw and Tim Smith. 

French, the four time junior world sprint champion, was implicated in a doping scandal in 2004 when cleaners found phials and syringes outside his room at the Australian Institute of Sport. French was accused of using equine growth hormone and initially banned from the sport for two years he was also given a lifetime ban from Olympic competition (which for a track cyclist is pretty much a career ender). 

The comments on the Triple M show followed the airing of a news documentary on the case in 2004. However, on appeal the Court for Arbitration in Sport threw the case against French out, revoked his ban and cleared him of all charges citing a lack of evidence.

As well as criticising French for cheating the the Cage presenters also branded him "un-Australian" for naming other cyclists allegedly involved in the doping scandal.

As well as paying French $350,000 the court also ordered Triple M to pay his $57,000 legal costs.'s founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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