What's Cool In Road Cycling

Interview: Title Fave Geneviиve Jeanson

Geneviиve Jeanson is on a mission and one of the favorites for both Road and TT titles in Hamilton this week. Winner on GC of six major North American stage races including 22 individual stage wins, a World Cup victory in Montreal, the Canadian road championships, and another, (her third), prestigious title on the harsh slopes of Mount Washington, the Canadian star is on a roll this year. Like most of the women’s peloton, PezCycling News has been trying to catch up with Geneviиve Jeanson all season. Lucky for us the Queen of Lachine took time from her preparations for the World Cycling Championships to update her fans on her season to-date and her outlook for the big race:

Geneviиve climbing Blue Knob Hill at the Tour de Toona – enroute to a Team GC win.

PCN: Geneviиve, with such a great season it’s no surprise you were recently selected to ride both the road race and the chrono in Hamilton. What are the highlights of your season so far?

GJ: Oh, my win at the Montreal World Cup has to rank right up there. That event is so important to me, to the team and to our sponsors. Both the course and the quality of the field make it a very prestigious event. Plus this race is part of a sort of “Bikefest” that lasts for a week! On top of the World Cup and the Tour of Greater Montreal, RONA sponsors the Tour de l’Ile, a fun ride with more than 30,000 cyclists having the streets of Montreal to themselves for a day. The past three years the team has ridden with the crowd, meeting with all sorts of people — kids, cycling fans, it’s fun.

But there’s more. Winning Redlands for a second time felt good, and three-peating at Gila was a great moment. And climbing Mount Washington with 100-km/hour crosswinds was a moving experience – literally!

I have to mention the International, in Altoona. These people organize a super race, and even though I didn’t win GC, RONA/Esker won a very convincing team GC, we were all very proud!

PCN: Rona-Esker has built a very strong team in 2003. How important is it to you to be part of such a strong team as Rona-Esker?

GJ: Like I just said, team performance is important to me. Having a strong team gives us more depth, more strength either to chase or to control the race, more tactical options on the road.

You know there’ll be five of us RONA/Eskers at the Worlds, with Willie (Erinne Willock – ed.) and me for Canada, Mag (Magali Le Floc’h) for France, Meshy (Melissa Holt) for New Zealand and Karen (Bockel) for Germany? We’ve come a long way since people were wondering what’s a Rona! You know, being part of building this team from day one makes me as proud as any one of my personal wins.

PCN: Tell us about your preparations over the last month and leading up to the world championships.

GJ: After the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont on Labour Day weekend, I went to train in my second home – Arizona! There I find a warm climate, nice roads, tough climbs that I know well. Some riders train by entering races. I prefer to train, period. First, because Andrй (coach Andrй Aubut) and I have a very specific approach to training. So I need a controlled environment to use as a benchmark – like tracking how my speed and watts evolve on a given course over time. I can’t get that sort of conditions in a race situation. Another reason is I actually love training! I get a real kick out of beating my own time of three days before on a given course, I think more than when I beat an opponent.

PCN: The Hamilton road course features a lot of climbing with about 2,000 metres of elevation gain over 124km. What are your thoughts on the road and time trial courses?

GJ: Both are really tough, I think very selective, but they’re not pure climber’s material. You do have two climbs, but they’re not long enough for anyone to get away and stay away just out of climbing ability. Yet you have some very fast, technical descents. Anyone who wins this will have to be a great all-around rider. Both the TT and the road race.

PCN: You had a great victory at the World Cup race in Montreal this year. Do you see any similarities between the Montreal course with the Mont Royal climb and the Hamilton course?

GJ: Well I see one BIG difference. Montreal is a hilltop finish. Hamilton is not. That changes the whole dynamics of the race. The similarity is that the climbs come back often and quickly and you have very little time to rest. From that point of view Hamilton is even more demanding than Montreal. So you can expect an attrition race, at least at the start. The challenge will be to remain among the leaders until the end, and then anything can happen.

PCN: As a former junior world champion in both road and chrono you have demonstrated your ability to have big rides in the important races. Can you tell us about your ambitions for the upcoming championships?

GJ: That’s a secret! (chuckles). Seriously, I’ll be happy if I feel I couldn’t have raced better or faster. That’s all I control. If five or ten girls are ahead of me after I’ve given it all, well, so be it. But suppose I win and I feel I could have shaved a second here or a second there, of course I’ll be happy – but at the same time I’ll be disappointed, because remember, I really compete against myself.

PCN: Who do you think are some of the other strong contenders for this course?

GJ: Would you like me to name all 40 of them? (chuckles). It may be a special day because they’re the world championships, but once you’re on the road it’s back to basics, and basically it’s another one-day race. And anything can happen and usually does on a one-day race. Now, of course Nicole Cooke has won many great one-day races this year on the World Cup circuit, so her name comes to mind. Judith Arndt is good and consistent. But what’s special about the Worlds is a super-strong field, and that’s exactly why there are so many contenders.

PCN: The Canadian National Championships were held on the road and time trial courses in Hamilton. Do you think this will be an advantage to you and the rest of the team on race day?

GJ: I know the Montreal crowd gives me a boost! I hope the Hamilton crowd will do the same for all our team.

PCN: Canada has a very strong team for the race. Is the team doing any specific preparation together before the race?

GJ: We all know each other pretty well, you know. Erinne Willock is my teammate on RONA/Esker, Lyne Bessette, Manon Jutras and Amy Moore were Saturns all season, and Manon and Amy were with me on Team RONA the two previous seasons, and we all know Sue Palmer. But we’ll spend time together in the days before the race to discuss strategy and game plan.

PCN: Many people have asked if you plan to race in Europe next year. Can you tell us about your goals for next season?

GJ: Nope, not yet. I haven’t even thought about it. Let’s deal with this season first.

PCN: Geneviиve, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with PezCycling News. On behalf of all your fans, best of luck in the Worlds. Allez Allez Allez!!!

Get more info on Team Rona at their website www.ronateam.canoe.com

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.