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Shamed cyclist banned for life




Injected... Cyclist Mark French has been banned for life.

DISGRACED cycling champion Mark French has been banned from competing in the Olympics for life â€" but has been offered a reduced sentence if he dobs in fellow drug cheats.

An explosive report by the international Court of Arbitration for Sport originally recommended a two-year suspension and $1000 fine for the Olympic hopeful.

But the Australian Olympic Committee yesterday slapped French, 19, with a life ban as it moved to stamp out the damaging revelations only weeks before the national team leaves for Athens.

However, French could have his sentence reduced to eight years if he agrees to turn in his teammates.

The AOC was furious that French not only injected the drug glucocorticosteroids, but that he trafficked performance-enhancing drugs to teammates.

"Today Bob Elphinston, the AOC secretary-general, has written to Mark French advising him that in light of the fact that two of the charges against him that were found proven involved trafficking, Mark is ineligible for life to represent Australia at the Olympic Games," AOC counsel Simon Rofe said.

"The simple message (is) that the AOC is treating its athletes the same as it asks the rest of the world to treat theirs," he said.

Labor's Senator John Faulkner blew the whistle on the French case under parliamentary privilege last Friday.

Federal Sport Minister Rod Kemp yesterday announced an independent inquiry into claims that the elite cycling community was riddled with drug users.

According to the report of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, French regularly injected vitamins and equine growth hormones in his room at the Del Monte campus of the Australian Institute of Sport in Adelaide.

Under questioning, French implicated five cycling teammates in the use of banned drugs. They have not yet been publicly named.

On December 2 last year, cleaners entered room 121 at Del Monte and discovered a stockpile of used syringes, needles and arm bands.

Used vials of the equine growth hormones EquiGen and Testicomp also were discovered in the room.
Can't believe atheletes are still so naive as to think that they will get away with it.

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