Russell Crowe got his own back on an Australian newspaper columnist who mocked him for smoking while trying to keep fit by challenging her to a duel — on a bike.

The Oscar-winning star was annoyed by an article teasing him for smoking and eating a fatty meal during a recent bike ride, so the notoriously prickly actor set out to prove he is still in gladiatorial shape.

Crowe, who has been photographed looking slimmer in recent months, was apparently none too pleased by journalist Annette Sharp's piece in Sydney'sDaily Telegraph entitled: "Smokes and fatty foods — the fitness regime for Rusty."

Crowe was photographed pausing during a recent bike ride with his personal trainer to puff on a cigarette and chow down on three tacos and a soft drink.

Crowe's spokesman called up Sharp the next day and said: "Get on your bike. Russell wants you to go riding with him. Are you ready to die?"

The journalist accepted the challenge and the pair met at dawn for a 12-mile ride through the city.

Video of the raceshows the writer struggling to keep up while Crowe zooms along unfazed. At one point, she falls off her bike.

Instead of gloating, she revealed, the actor was "gracious, concerned — the perfect gentleman as he rolled up my trousers to check on my knee."

They got back on their bikes and finished the ride.

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