The long road back of Julien Lizeroux
His last competition was the Kitzbuehel Slalom in January 2011 and ever since Julien Lizeroux has never given up the hope that his knee might recover well enough for him to get back to racing the World Cup. This summer the French veteran seems to finally have gotten close to a comeback and we chatted with him about his injury, recovery and plans for the future!
Fisalpine: It has been a tough road back from your knee injury almost three years ago. Could you explain what happened?
Julien Lizeroux: So in January 2005, I broke my left ACL during the Chamonix World Cup Slalom. During the surgery, French doctors took a piece of my quadriceps tendon to replace my broken ACL. Rehab was long and painful, but after one and a half years, I was able to train and ski normally (from 2007 until 2010). I still always had to take care of my knee and do physiotherapy, stretch go for massages... Then, during the summer trainings of 2010, my knee started deteriorating. In January 2011, pain became too much for me and I was no longer able to ski. After many medical checks doctors told me that my quadriceps tendon was 80% broken near the patella and that surgery was the only option. Unfortunately this kind of surgery was the first one for the doctors. I had no other option so I had surgery, followed by a very long period of rehab and after six months; an MRI showed that surgery hasn’t been a success at all... It felt like there was no solution! Thanks to my friend Felix Neureuther, in January 2012, I got in touch his doctor and after a long period of treatment, surgery, physiotherapy and rehab, I’m now back on skis!!!!!
Fisalpine: It has now been a while since your last World Cup race but you never give up on rehabbing and getting back on the Tour. Where are you now with your preparations for next season?
JL: I'm back with my team since May. I am doing a full 100% physical training program with them. Of course I have to adapt some exercises, but I’m pleased to see that I’m going in the right direction. We had a cycling and dryland camp in Corsica in June and it was a lot of fun to share this with all my friends in the team. This was followed by a month of workouts in Albertville and finally we got back on skis in July. For now I only ski Slalom and do some free skiing in GS and SG.
Fisalpine: According to the updates coming from your Social Media the recovery seems to be going well. You have been training with the team in the past
months, but what are the plans for getting back to racing?
JL: The big positive thing is my leg. My quadriceps is back in business and so the pain is going lower and lower. The more I train, the better it is. But I have to find the good balance between nothing and too much!!! As far as plans, there are NO PLANS. I just want to enjoy every day I feel good. As we have a really strong Tech Team, I will train with them in Ushuaia, Saas Fee and Tignes until October and I will try to be ready for Levi's slalom.
Fisalpine: You also decided to move to Fischer. Why the change and how happy are you with the new material?
JL: I wanted the best skis and the best team to end my carrier on a positive note. I also wanted to work again with JB Grange and with Loic Brun our service man. Now the dream team is back... I have had just over 10 days of skiing with my new skis, but everything look very good it is the perfect choice for me
Fisalpine: You will be getting back straight into the Olympic season. What are your expectations and how important would be making the team? Is that
something on your radar?
JL: I just want to enjoy skiing, I’m going in with no expectations. I know I will give my 100% to be at a World Cup start and then place myself in a 2nd run…after that, everything is possible! Off course I also want to race the Olympics, who doesn't? This season is the biggest challenge of my carrier, and I’m training everyday to be in Sochi. We have a strong team, so I better ski fast!
You skied as a forerunner in Kranjska last year. Did getting a taste of World Cup make you even more hungry for a comeback? Was it a way for you to try and see how close/far you were from being able to be ready to compete again?
JL: I really think I don't need to be any hungrier. Being away from ski racing for more than 2 years is enough to make me hungry! But that was the first step on my come back plan. Just being in the starting gate again and seeing what's my level.
2nd step was racing the French Championship and a couple of FIS races at the end of last season. The 3rd step is training hard with the team which I’m doing right now. And 4th step Levi......
Fisalpine: You recently were elected to the FIS Athletes Commission. Why the choice to apply and what would you like to achieve in your two years there?
JL: I think Athletes should be in the main line of all decisions regarding World Cup rules. I also think that athletes would have more influence if they were united so that is my main goals as a member of the FIS Athletes Commission. I'd like athletes opinion to be considered, which in my opinion is not always the case right now.
Fisalpine: This summer you completed the Etap du Tour, are you a cycling fan? How tough was that experience?
JL: I'm a big Fan of Le Tour de France and I do around 2000km on my bike for training every year. This year, our training group completed the Etap du Tour from Annecy to Le Semnoz (130km with 3600D+) one week before the pros, we were 12 000 people! It was long and difficult but we made it to Le Semnoz. The last part was crazy, 11km in 1h15 for me! I had cramps everywhere but I reached the finish line like all my teammates.
Fisalpine: You put a lot of hard work in your training and rehab, but did you have some time off over the summer? Any fun vacations?
JL: It is really important to have some time off. May has been a quiet month for me, I had two weeks of holidays in Guadeloupe this year with some friends and it was the perfect place to rest – a nice beach, some diving and canyoning and some sunburns! Last year I was in Australia for three weeks and that was a lot of fun too. When I’m at home, I enjoy the Annecy lake and do some Wake Surf or play golf in Giez with friends.
Fisalpine: The French tech team is a good combination between young talents and more experienced skiers, do you share your experience and advice with the young ones? What you wish you knew when your career with the team started that you learned only years later?
JL: Of course I share my experience! Young talents bring a fresh spirit and determination, that's a really good mix and everybody can pick some good vibes in this training group. In skiing, you learn things everyday and the only thing, which was valid all the time, is to NEVER GIVE UP! It is not a problem to fail if you gave 100% but until now I feel like I never reached my 100%, so who knows, I still have maybe some good moments in front of me... See you guys on skis!
by Ana Jelusic