Posted by Editor on 11/15/07
Geneviève Jeanson Interview
by Matt Hansen
Geneviève Jeanson's name was on everyone's name again this fall after an admission of EPO use in her prolific career. Jeanson, after a positive test two years ago in Altoona, has been relatively quiet in the cycling scene since her suspension by USA Cycling. Now the 26-year-old is re-invigorated with new energy for helping fight the doping situation in cycling. Here's what the Phoenix, Arizona resident had to say...
Matt Hansen: How is your winter going? What's new? How are you doing since the CBC special? (Radio Canada broadcast a two part, two hour interview with Jeanson last month)
Geneviève Jeanson: I am doing extremeley well since the story came out. It really cleared my conscience and I feel great about it. I feel so relieved and my mind is great.
On my birthday in late August I took a little trip. I started off with a week trip to Hawaii. It was my first real trip by myself and I was really excited. I more or less just hung out on Waikiki beach for a week and did some shopping. I got sort of bored so I was talking to lots of new people. One day, I met a woman who needed a drive to a wedding on the north shore - and since I had a car, I said sure. The next thing I knew I was at a wedding and Jack Johnson was playing. I met him later and he was really cool. Then after that I went to Maui for a bit, and finally to Tokyo to meet my boyfriend. From there, Greg and I went to Bangkok for a few days, and to Phuket for a week. It was great - an amazing trip with great experiences. I came back here and my parents visited for a while, which was also great.
MH: So what have you been up to since the interview? How have things changed for you?
GJ: Well I've had a great response to it. I had a lot of emails and calls from
people who commended me on the admission and that made me feel great. I also decided to really try and make a difference in whatever way I can. My friend Steve Lisa, who owns the Rideclean cycling team, whom I ride with all the time here in Phoenix, asked me if I wanted to do a prevention program with kids. I immediately said that yes, I did want to be involved. My believe is I don't want to be in a project that is against doping, I want to be involved in something that is for clean sport. And that begins with prevention, with younger riders.
Right now, we are going to public schools here in Arizona, where we talk about cycling, talent, potential and, of course, doping. It is a small scale for now, which is fine, but as part of my drive I contacted Dick Pound to see if I could help.
MH: What did you say to him, and what did he say to you?
GJ: Well, he answered me back after I had told him I wanted to be involved with WADA or UCI. I told him I wanted to focus on juniors. Dick Pound was really nice, actually. Like everyone, I had heard lots about him. He has a very harsh reputation but I chose to give him a chance and speak to him with an open mind. He is sort of like me, I think - what is said on the TV or newspaper is not always what someone is like. We had a good talk and I will talk to him more soon after the WADA meeting in Madrid.
My belief is there will always be drugs in sport, but we need to start [combatting it] at the junior level. We don't talk about it, it's like it's a taboo.
MH: It sounds almost like sex education. The more people know, the better?
GJ: Yes exactly. It's all about informed decisions for young people. I've been there and I really feel that is the way to make a difference. Kids need to know yes, you can do it without drugs so the more information, the better. With Rideclean, we also speak about having balance in life. Rideclean is a movement we want to push more than just in cycling, also in everyday life.
MH: What else have you been up to, work-wise?
GJ: Well I really want to get back in the restaurant business as I very much enjoy it, but I alo realized I need to learn more. I'm going to manage Salty Senoritas, a restaurant here in Arizona. I will start as the floor manager. I do want to get a restaurant again but I want to learn from the best. When I owned my own I was not learning from anybody, so I want to work for someone else who knows more than me. So I will give myself 6 months to 1 year there. I really believe John Casale (the owner) is the most innovative, friendly and genuine businessman in the Phoenix area and I am going to give myself a window of time to learn from him.
MH: And what about riding? Are you still on the bike much?
GJ: I ride and run every day for an hour or two. When I start working at the restaurant I will be working 50-55 hours a week so I will ride on my days off, and do a short run the days I work. I've also started doing yoga - it keeps my body and mind relaxed.
MH: Have you been home to Montreal since the intervew?
GJ: No, I have not yet. I will in the future. It's still hard for me. There has been a lot of great support from my family and friends and I want to thank everyone. I will be back eventually.
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