Posted 01 July 2004 - 09:06 AM
Coach issues denial in spit spat
Cycling association to investigate
Genevieve Jeanson's controversial coach Andre Aubut already had a reputation as being volatile in Canadian cycling
circles. He enhanced it greatly by spitting several times at rider Anne Samplonius during last week's national road race
It surely qualifies as a new low, even for Aubut, a gym-teacher-turned-cycling-Svengali who is disliked for his arrogant
and aggressive manner, as well as the influence he wields over Jeanson, a great talent in danger of going off the rails.
Undoubtedly, Aubut's expectorant was his eloquent response to Samplonius' fiery open letter slamming the U.S.
Anti-Doping Association decision to let Jeanson off after she missed a drug test and outlining the Quebec cyclist's
recent checkered doping history.
Samplonius said Aubut cut her off with his car and rolled down the window and spit at her during the road race and also
spit at her on two other occasions at the nationals in Kamloops, B.C.
Team Ontario coach Denise Kelly witnessed and confirmed the first incident, while Hamilton cyclist Sue Palmer-Komar
saw one of the other two.
"We were going down a sweeping downhill and he (Aubut) definitely took the corner wide and slowed down (to block
Samplonius)," said Kelly.
"She was yelling at him, understandably. ... He stopped, rolled down his window and horked at her."
Palmer-Komar said she saw Aubut do the same thing as she was standing and talking to Samplonius after the race.
"He should have some kind of sanction," said Palmer-Komar, generally a moderate voice on the cycling circuit, where
the 37-year-old veteran is held in great respect.
A protest was filed by Samplonius' team manager. Canadian Cycling Association spokesman Brett Stewart said the
chief official for the event conducted preliminary interviews with witnesses and that the association will take charge of
the matter once a report has been received.
Aubut denies all of it.
"I thought I'd heard everything in the cycling world and from Anne Samplonius," said Aubut. "Anne Samplonius is not
someone I have five seconds to stand on. I don't even have spit to waste on her."
He also said he never cut her off.
"I'm not going to start playing with somebody's life," he said.
The Canadian cycling team might be spared some controversy at the Olympics, because Jeanson is now thought to be a
long shot for Athens after a poor performance at the nationals. Her archrival, Lyne Bessette, is guaranteed a spot, and
Palmer-Komar also seems a sure bet.
While many in the cycling community don't like Aubut, they pity Jeanson.
"She's not a bad person," said Samplonius. "I heard her say once that she believes he is what makes her good."
Samplonius hopes Jeanson one day believes she can excel on her own and "she can start thinking about getting away
from that guy."
That opinion is voiced throughout the Canadian cycling scene.
"I feel bad for Genevieve," said Palmer-Komar. "I don't think there's a normal athlete/coach relationship happening
A former national team kayaker, Aubut coached Caroline Brunet for a short time in the early '90s, long before she
became a star. She left him after a short period because she found him too controlling. She's loath to even speak about
Aubut scoffs at his detractors, pointing to Jeanson's recent win at the Montreal World Cup.
"They can say what they want," Aubut said. "Lyne Bessette did not win a World Cup. Samplonius did not win a
World Cup. Who did? It was Genevieve. Many riders would like to have a negative influence like that."
Don't bet on it. When you're coached by someone with Aubut's reputation, sometimes even when you win, you can
Posted 01 July 2004 - 09:18 AM
Posted 01 July 2004 - 11:24 AM
Posted 02 July 2004 - 06:01 AM
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