SEARCH 2000 Games

Wednesday, December 15, 1999
PROFILE: Genevieve Jeanson
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 Association.

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 Games.

"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 friendly.

"This gives Genevieve the opportunity to qualify and now nobody can complain."

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 28.

"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 season.

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 Dubnicoff (sprints).
Genevieve Jeanson in the news
Jeanson's coach blows off a little steam
Canadians bicker after failing
Jeanson a dark horse in the medal race
Jeanson in pictures
11th in Sydney
RONA sponsorship
In profile
A real Tiger