Posted by Editor on 09/28/07
Jeanson Interview - Part 2
In the second part of an investigative report on the Radio-Canada television show Enquête last night, Genevieve Jeanson provided more extensive details about using EPO during her career. Below is a summary of the interview, translated with the extensive assistance of Adam Klevinas:
Jeanson affirmed that her first experience with EPO came at the hands of Dr. Maurice Duquette, a Montreal orthopedic surgeon who initially injected her with the drug, supposedly to treat anemia in 1998.
After complaining of constantly being tired, Jeanson had two options: either she would take a season off to rejuvenate, or take EPO. She chose the latter, but with the help of her father, Yves Jeanson and her coach, André Aubut.
Jeanson said both her father and Aubut accompanied her to the first visit with Dr. Duquette. For Aubut's part, he wanted to know the advantages that EPO could provide. Jeanson's father was present because he was concerned about his daughter's health condition and wanted her to gain back some lost weight. He never inquired how dangerous the drug was - he thought the visit to Dr. Duquette was a one-time deal.
But the visit to Dr. Duquette wasn't a one-time occurrence. Although Jeanson didn't provide an exact number, she said Dr. Duquette injected her roughly 20 times in her career.
Jeanson revealed that she took EPO on and off during the season, but mostly during training. When race season came around, she was more cautious and sparing with the drug.
Every fall, however, when the racing season came to a close, Jeanson wanted to find a way to get off EPO and stop biking. She spoke about wanting to change her life, saying she was tired of being controlled, but she didn't have the guts to speak out.
Jeanson's chance came in 2003, after a high hematocrit level kept her out of the World Championships in Hamilton and Dr. Duquette's revelation about having injected her with EPO. She called a press conference in Montreal in November of that year, but decided to lie, instead saying that she had never touched, seen, taken or been given EPO in her life.
At this point, Jeanson's father realized she was lying about her one-time brush with EPO. He made her promise to him and her mother that she would never take the drug again. Frustrated as he was, Jeanson's father still couldn't denounce his daughter's guilt.
The lies also started to catch up with Jeanson. She said the only way she knew how to survive was to keep lying. The hardest part, she said, was lying to the people who believed in her.
Back in Arizona with Aubut, Jeanson continued to train and take EPO. Although she didn't want to say where she got the EPO from, she said the drug could be easily found in gyms or on the Internet.
Nevertheless, taking EPO started to scare Jeanson. She knew the drug, which boosts an individual's red blood cell count and consequently thickens blood, was dangerous.
Jeanson admitted that she was scared to die, that she would go to sleep and never wake up. While lying awake in bed at night, she could feel how slow her heart was pumping. During training, when her heart rate wouldn't go up while doing hard intervals, Jeanson knew it was because her hematocrit level was too high.
She said the incident in Hamilton scared her so much that she just wanted to stop racing. However, Aubut told her that if she stopped, everyone would know that she was guilty of using EPO. He asked her to hold on for one more year before quitting, using the large amounts of money she was making as an excuse to stick around.
Of course, Jeanson's performance and endorsements were also in the best interest of Aubut as well. Instead of paying Aubut as a coach, they split the money. Jeanson estimated that over the course of her career, she earned roughly one million dollars.
Despite revealing her desire to quit as early as 2001, Jeanson stuck around, unable to escape the control and manipulation of Aubut.
She felt obligated to keep winning and felt like an entertainer on the racecourse. Jeanson recounted how she didn't want to disappoint anyone - not her sponsors, family, coach - and that continuing to win was the solution.
Jeanson said that she was unhappy and didn't want to be with Aubut. During the interview, she addressed some of the suspicions surrounding their relationship.
As it turns out, Aubut wasn't just verbally abusive toward her. The most serious incident came during a 160km-training ride in Arizona, when Jeanson stopped pedaling, too exhausted to continue. She said Aubut got so mad, he hauled her off into the desert and hit her. Jeanson said her face swelled up so much, she was unable to put her sunglasses back on.
Two people have confirmed with Radio-Canada that they saw Jeanson with a black eye after the alleged incident.
Both Jeanson and her family consider themselves a victim of Aubut's manipulation and control. Her father says he never tried to push her and, if anything, both he and Jeanson's mother tried to get her to take a step back from cycling. Her mother even wanted her to quit because she didn't like seeing what Aubut and the sport was doing to her daughter.
Now, Jeanson is full of regret. She is fully aware of her responsibilities and admits that she cheated. The choice to take EPO, she acknowledged, was hers to say yes or no to.
If anyone offered her drugs today, Jeanson would say no. She said it just isn't worth it. And, although she takes responsibility for a good portion of the blame, Jeanson says she was stuck in a system that encourages winning at all costs, the desire to shatter records and perform.
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