CyclingTips podcast, Episode 24: Genevieve Jeanson on making peace with a tainted past

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In the early 2000s, Genevieve Jeanson was a rising star in women’s cycling. Already a two-time national and world champion as a junior –in the road race and time trial –the French Canadian was taking the American and international scene by storm.

She won La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, a world cup race, and made her first appearance at the Olympics at the tender age of 18. She grew her palmares quickly over the following few years, adding World Cup wins, national titles, and stage and GC victories at classics like the Women’s Challenge, Redlands, Tour de Gila and Tour de Toona.

And she didn’t just win them, she dominated, often coming across the line with unprecedented margins on her competitors.

Her career came to an immediate stop in 2005, however, when she tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO). She denied taking a banned substance but announced her retirement months later, at just 24 years old.

However, in an interview with Radio-Canada in 2007 she came clean and confessed to having used EPO throughout her career, dating back to 1998.

Genevieve Jeanson in 1999.

She initially received a lifetime ban, which was then reduced to 10 years for cooperating with an investigation conducted by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) into her coach Andre Aubut and Montreal-based physician Maurice Duquette. Each of whom were issued lifetime bans for administering a prohibited substance to Jeanson, a minor at the time.

While history quickly wrote her off as a doper, over time we learned that there was a lot more going on than meet the eye. Jeanson revealed that her relationship with coach Andre Aubut , whom she started working with when she was just 14 years old, was physically and emotionally abusive. EPO had been forced on her, and for over a decade he control everything when it came to Jeanson –her training, her nutrition, her career, who she talked to, even her bank accounts.

She has freed herself from Aubut since then, and has made peace with her tainted and troubled past.

Lately, several women have come forward about abusive relationships in the cycling world, and with Jeanson’s 10-year ban coming to an end this year, we thought it was time to catch up Jeanson and see where she is now.

Jeanson graciously agreed to talk to Ella and open up about her past, her relationship with Aubut, how she has moved on and her life now.

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