Jeanson gets shot at Olympic team
By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun
Genevieve Jeanson, considered the best young female cyclist in the
world, finally is pedalling in the same direction as the Canadian Cycling
A dysfunctional relationship between the Jeanson camp and the CCA
threatened to torpedo any chance the Lachine, Que., athlete had of
representing Canada at the Sydney Olympics next September.
As of late last week, the Jeanson camp refused to speak to CCA officials
and demanded a bye on to the Olympic team based on her unprecedented two
gold-medal performance at the junior world championships for road racers last
October in Italy.
Pierre Hutsebaut, the CCA director of national racing programs, refused any
such request while expressing remorse that there was no communication between
the cyclist and the organization. Hutsebaut insisted that unless Jeanson, 18,
took part in the Olympic team selection process, she'd be out of the loop.
But last Friday, the day a report of the feud appeared in The Toronto Sun,
Hutsebaut got a call from the Quebec cycling federation which, on behalf of
Jeanson and her coach, Andre Aubut, requested a meeting with the CCA.
They hashed out a deal which will see Jeanson compete in five senior
international races this spring that will act as Olympic qualifiers. Jeanson
has to finish in the top eight in two of the five to be selected for the
"I don't know if the meeting came about because of your article, but I'm
pleased," said Hutsebaut, who called the gathering animosity-free but not
"This gives Genevieve the opportunity to qualify and now nobody can
That's yet to be seen. Hutsebaut said he had to "customize" the events to
suit Jeanson's needs and will have to withdraw money ear-marked for other
programs and athletes to allow the cyclist to compete in the five races -- two
next March in Australia, two in May in Italy and the Montreal World Cup on May
"Of course when we go to remote places it costs money," Hutsebaut said from
CCA headquarters in Ottawa. "But money has to be spent on the best athletes,
and if she proves she can make the team, then it's a good investment."
Yves Jeanson said last night his daughter never demanded to be pre-selected
to the Olympic team. He said she was hoping to be put on a short list so she
could go right to the trials without having to compete all over the world next
Jeanson still is hoping the COA will grant her that wish, but has
reluctantly agreed to the Australian and Italian races.
As for Hutsebaut, Yves Jeanson said "he never had a good attitude toward
us" and is frustrated because Genevieve isn't a product of the CCA program.
Hutsebaut said the root of the feud between his organization and the
Jeanson camp originated from misinformation fed to the athlete by "her
entourage," including their blaming the CCA for not letting her compete in
last year's Montreal World Cup. Hutsebaut said the international cycling
federation forbids juniors from competing in senior events.
The only two Canadian athletes to have pre-qualified for the Olympic
cycling team are world champions Alison Sydor (mountain bike) and Tanya