Posted by Editor on 09/21/07
Jeanson Interview - Part 1
Last night on the Radio-Canada program Enquête, retired Canadian road racer Genevieve Jeanson admitted to doping during her career. In the hour long first part of a two part interview, Jeanson spoke candidly about using EPO from the age of 16, pushed into it by her coach André Aubut (who refuted the charge, according to Enquête). Her father denied any knowledge of the doping of his then 16 year old daughter.
Jeanson, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, took a defiant attitude during much of the questioning, although she broke into tears once when talking about misleading her fans and lying.
In appearance, Jeanson is no longer as painfully thin as she was when racing, and sported spikey, multi-coloured hair for much of the interview sessions. She resembled nothing so much as a rebellious teenager. Below is a summary of the interview, translated with the extensive assistance of Adam Klevinas:
After years of suspected doping, missed tests and alleged false positives, Canadian cyclist Genevieve Jeanson has admitted to using EPO since the age of 16.
Last night, on Enquête, a Radio-Canada television show, Jeanson told journalist Alain Gravel that she used EPO at races such as the Montreal World Cup on Mont-Royal, a race she won four times in her career, and prior to the 2003 World Championships in Hamilton.
For the majority of the interview, Jeanson adamantly denied ever taking EPO or receiving blood transfusions during her career. She said the only thing she took was vitamins, as well as sleeping in a hypoxic tent nearly 300 days per year.
It was only toward the end, after a series of interviews with Gravel, that Jeanson finally admitted to using the banned performance-enhancing drug.
The revelation finally concludes that EPO was responsible for spiking her hematocrit level to 56% - well over the 47% limit allowed for female cyclists - prior to the 2003 World Cycling Championships in Hamilton that led to her exclusion from the race.
For a cyclist who took EPO her entire career, Jeanson only officially failed one doping test, at the Tour de Toona in 2005. During her interview, she explained that by stopping EPO five days before an event, a positive test could easily be avoided. Up until now, Jeanson always maintained that the result in Altoona was a false positive and not the result of having used performance-enhancing drugs. Doping experts, however, always proved her case, to the contrary.
Jeanson's other positive came after she missed a doping test at Fleche Wallonne in 2004. Although she didn't test positive, missing a drug test counts as a positive offence.
Her first experience with EPO came at the hands of Dr. Maurice Duquette. After the 2003 World Championship incident, Dr. Duquette admitted to having given Jeanson just one dose of EPO, but was later forced to retract his statement at the hands of Jeanson's lawyers.
Jeanson admitted that she knew taking EPO was bad, but she couldn't find a way to get out and didn't know what to do. The hardest part, she said, was lying to the people who believed in her. She didn't want to disappoint anyone, especially her coach, André Aubut.
According to Jeanson, Aubut told her that taking EPO was the only way she would ever win, something Jeanson still believes is necessary in the sport of professional cycling.
Aubut's version of the story, much like Jeanson's, changed over time. At first he admitted to having told Jeanson to take EPO, but then recanted, saying it was a decision he and his athlete made together. By the end, Aubut claimed he didn't even know Jeanson was using EPO and thought her high hematocrit levels were simply the result of a hypoxic tent she slept in nearly year round.
Married last year for just six months as a business arrangement for the restaurant they own together in Phoenix (Jeanson has since sold the restaurant), Jeanson and Aubut's relationship was always questioned. Even Jeanson's own father wouldn't go watch her practices, fearing he would see her being treated badly.
Although Jeanson was responsible for telling Aubut to push her as hard as possible in training, at a certain point, Aubut became violent and aggressive in the way he spoke to her. Her performances were never good enough. Jeanson even admitted that she would try to win races, 'just to shut him up.'
Former Rona teammate Amy Moore recounted an incident in which Aubut picked up Jeanson's dinner plate and threw it across the room after being dissatisfied with the way Jeanson was eating. Moore also explained that when she looked at Jeanson, she didn't see the young, blonde athlete, but rather only saw Aubut, a clear testament to the control and manipulation he had over her.
Other teammates, such as Manon Jutras, said that it was just part of Aubut's personality, that he just wanted to win and it was in his blood. She said he was like a passionate hockey coach behind the bench. However, Jutras' account stands in stark contrast to the stories of Aubut throwing a race radio at Jeanson after a competition and even one individual's claim that he once physically hit her.
It is still unclear if André Aubut was responsible for administering and forcing Jeanson to use EPO. His role in her life, though briefly touched upon in the interview, remains foggy. And, although Jeanson's explained her method of stopping the drug five days before competition to avoid getting caught, questions still surround how she passed so many doping tests in her career. Next week's episode of Enquête promises to try and answer these questions.
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