August 11, 2006 – According to a recent report in La Presse, GeneviÃ¨ve Jeanson, who received a lifetime ban following a positive test for the banned substance EPO after the time trial at the Tour of Toona in July 2005, hopes to clear her name at a hearing this December in Montreal. The 24-year-old former world junior road cycling champion maintains her innocence. It was her third doping incident since 2003.
When Jeanson, the “golden girl” of Canadian cycling, learned of the lifetime ban in January of this year she announced her retirement from professional cycling. Jeanson’s lawyer, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, is working to contest the ruling and clear her name. She cited fatigue from “defending herself from allegations of doping,” as the reason for her retirement.
Despite residing in Lachine, Quebec, Jeanson holds a racing license issued by USA Cycling. Thus she is appealing to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to have the positive drug test overturned.
Both the USADA and USA Cycling are currently dealing with the case of Floyd Landis, the disputed winner of the Tour de France. The USADA is also preoccupied with the case of sprinter Justin Gatlin, co-world record holder in the 100-meter dash and Olympic gold medalist for that event.
In 2003 Jeanson was banned from competing at the Hamilton 2003 Road Worlds with a higher-than-normal Haematocrit level, but was later cleared of any doping infraction. In 2004, she missed a doping control after a stage at the women’s Fleche-Wallone in Belgium but claimed good faith and escaped with only a fine and a warning. Her missed control in Belgium is weighing against her now, according to USADA rules.
Jeanson’s defense rests on the assertion that she is one of a minority of people who under certain conditions, at high body temperatures and after intense anaerobic effort, naturally produces a protein in her urine that can interfere with the interpretation of results from EPO tests. Belgian triathlete, Rutger Beke has successfully used this same defense. Inconsistent test results of Jeanson’s urine seem to bolster this argument.
The hearing will take place in Montreal before three arbitrators. A judgment is expected in January, 2007. If she fails this hearing she can take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.