Julien Lizeroux, the French tech specialist and winner of two silver medals (SL, SC) at the home Worlds in Val d’Isére 2009, last competed in Kitzbühel on 23rd January 2011. Since then, the 32-year-old three-time World Cup winner has been side-lined due to a major knee injury. FIS Alpine had a chance to catch up with Julien to see how his recovery is progressing.
FISAlpine: Long time no see! How is the knee?
Julien Lizeroux: Very long time......My knee is getting better and better, but I still have a long way to be back on skis! The operation was very big and the result was not a 100% success.
So, after a year, I'm back in physical training and it is so cool to be able to practice sports again but I’m still training based on an individual program and can't do everything right now.
FISAlpine: How are you going with getting ready for your comeback on the World Cup tour?
JL: In my mind, I’m 150% motivated to be back because I miss skiing, I miss my friends on the tour and I miss racing. But for right now, I am stay focused on myself and don't plan my return...
FISAlpine: You've missed 1.5 seasons pretty much. How difficult is it to come back after such a long time?
JL: Since I haven’t skied since February 2011, and hope to be back on skis in the autumn, it is a very big challenge for me (more than 20 months without ski boots!!!!). I’ve had many injuries during my career, but never more than 7 months without skiing. I think my experience will help me a lot. I’m sure that if I am fit physically, I could be ready on skis pretty fast. But these are just words, I prefer facts and that's why I am training every day.
FISAlpine: What's your plan like from now until the season start?
JL: My plan is: NO PLAN! I am patient and continue to work on my leg and my knee to gain muscle mass and to lower the pain. Thankfully, my sponsors (Dynastar and La Plagne) signed me on for one more year so I have time to concentrate on my rehabilitation, training...
FISAlpine: Last season you experienced the tour from the other side of the fence, as TV commentator. How was that experience?
JL: I did it three times before I was injured but it was the first time for a whole season last season. It was a great pleasure to be a supporter of my teammates behind the screen with French Eurosport and with Alex Pasteur (commentator and a good friend of mine). I learnt that I definitely prefer to be on skis!!!! but it was a fun experience.
FISAlpine: The last slalom season seemed to be a Marcel Hirscher/Ivica Kostelic show, but then Andre Myhrer took the title. Who do you expect to be strong next season?
JL: That's why we love ski racing. Everything is possible until the last gate of the last race.
André was very powerful from the first to the last race. Ivica had knee problems and Marcel was skiing so fast and so close to gates that he straddled a couple of times. I think the top 15 is quite stable in slalom and that next year it will be the same: A mix of old experience guys and young guns...
FISAlpine: What's going on the with French men's tech team. After a few strong years, only young Alexis Pinturault made it to the podium in SL & GS last season? Will you be back in 2013?
JL: We have 4 guys in top 15 GS (not that bad???). Of course we were not on many podiums (except Alexis) but we are still there and 2012 was a transition season for us. Cyprien is 8th (5 years in top 15), Thomas had a shoulder surgery in the spring time. Slalom was tough for the team (JB had many problems with his back and then tore his ACL in March) but Steve is in top 15 and Alexis learnt a lot in slalom. This kid is amazing: 21 years old and scored podiums in five different events. I like his spirit and his motivation. He is pushing us very hard...So watch out for the Frenchies next year - we are not that young anymore, but we are experienced and motivated.
FISAlpine: What kind of Julien Lizeroux will we see in the 2012/13 season?
JL: Like always: happy, smiling and on skis... (i really hope so) and FULL POWER of course.
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