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Genevi̬ve Jeanson РDoes Cheating Pay?

February 13, 2008 (Montreal, QC) – As reported in September 2007, Geneviève Jeanson admitted on Radio Canada’s TV show Enquette to having “doped almost all her career” with EPO (erythropoietin) and that she made about one million dollars from cycling. In January, 2008, Pedal reported that Jeanson had signed a contract with Forum Films of Montreal to make a movie of her life entitled, “The Truth of the Lie” — click Pedalmag.com/pdf/CCES POLICY CADP E.pdf”>clauses but found they invariably refer to positive A samples rather than to a public admission of doping on TV.

Pitfield also suggested that in the case of a Canadian athlete who dopes and wins medals outside of Canada, that it’s up to the event organizer to retract the medals. The sport then purges the name of the athlete from their books.

Regarding this matter the FQSC’s Barbeau responded, “I am not sure what can be done, since she has not specifically admitted to using banned substances at the Junior Worlds, nor at specific National Championships. The only events, for which, to my knowledge, she did admit that she had used banned substances are the Montreal Women’s Road World Cups. In this case, I presume that something could be done about it, but again this needs to be validated with the organizer.”

So Pedal contacted Daniel Manibal, organizer of the Montreal Women’s Road World Cup. “Am I supposed to play the role of the FQSC and the CCA and the UCI in policing Jeanson?” asked Manibal. He noted that he pays a license fee to the FQSC, to the CCA, and to the UCI to host the Montreal Women’s Road World Cup. He also said that he was recently in communication with CCA President, Pierre Blanchard, noting the CCA is quick to give him directives concerning minor details about his races, such as how many commissaires he should have, but no instruction as to how to deal with Jeanson. “Actually, because she held an international license, I think it is up to the UCI to deal with this,” suggested Manibal.

Pedal also asked about any pending changes with respect to the legal issues with regard to doping infractions. Lafreniere suggested the topic was too broad adding, “Possibly you should ask the UCI or WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency]. There is a new code which will have greater powers in such cases (coaches, support staff).”

So we contacted both WADA and sports lawyer, Patrice M. Brunet for clarification of the new WADA code adopted in Madrid in late 2007 and which comes into effect on January, 2009. The new code does expand existing sanctions against the support staff (coaches, doctors, pharmacists, etc) of athletes convicted of doping. But as Brunet points out, the WADA code does not apply to all support staff. He cited the case of Geneviève Jeanson’s former coach, Andre Aubut, as a prime example of a non-certified coach working with a top level athlete. WADA’s new code would be ineffective against coaches like Aubut because he has not signed a contract to respect the code. An arbitrator investigating the Jeanson case, for example, could not compel Aubut to appear before a tribunal, nor could he impose sanctions against Aubut under the present system. This presumably would also be the case once the new WADA rules takes effect.

Because WADA’s new code does not apply to all support staff, Brunet maintains that the solution has to come from the Canadian government rather than from WADA. “Canadian legislation applies to everyone on Canadian soil,” explained Brunet, underlying the need for new, more extensive anti-doping legislation in this country.

For more details on Brunet’s call for new Canadian anti-doping legislation click Pedalmag.com/index.php?module=Section&action=viewdetail&item_id=12594″>here.

Barbeau also noted that, “the Jeanson case has obviously made us much more aware of the fact that doping is a serious issue and that it is not only present in pro racing in Europe.” When asked about specific anti-doping programs, he only cited the FQSC educational campaign Roulez gagnants au naturel (Ride Clean and Win) launched in 2006 as a positive measure to better educate our athletes and coaches and prevent such things from happening again. He continued that the CCA is interested in launching a similar national educational program.

Lafreniere confirmed that, “we are currently working through developing a national campaign and program (including education and additional testing) which will be launched.”

An educational campaign is a good thing, but is it enough? Do the cycling community, other athletes and the public have a right to know that Jeanson’s case is being reviewed by a particular body, the time frame for any decision to be rendered, and the possible consequences?

For an anti-doping program to be effective there needs to be a clearly defined, transparent review process with the power to apply effective sanctions. While confidentiality needs to be respected does our present system go too far and thereby keep the public too much in the dark? Without a clear message otherwise, one may construe that cheating pays.

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