Lukas Bauer had a shorter season than expected. He missed his main goal of the season, being in top three in FIS Tour de Ski and finished twice on the World Cup podium. After the World Cup in Nove Mesto he had to finish the season due to a fatigue fracture of his heel. FIS Cross-Country News talked to the Czech ace about the last season and plans for the World Championships year.
Q: Lukas, how are doing? How have been the recuperation from the injury going on?
Lukas Bauer: I hope it is getting better now. Ten days ago, after seven weeks, doctors took away the plaster and I restarted with exercising physical activity. At first I was walking only with crutches to ease off the pressure on the foot. The plan is to be putting more and more load on it and be walking normally after some time. I am not rushing so that the fracture gets 100% healed. You would not believe how much I am looking forward to going for a proper walk and a run! The shuffling was killing me.
Q: You finished the season after World Cup in Nove Mesto. Did you follow the rest of it on TV? Didn’t you have temptation to jump back in the track?
L.B.: Naturally I did not miss any World Cup competition. I was watching, men’s and ladies’ competitions, long distances, biathlon, literally everything! Of course I wished to be out there but having been injured it was absolutely out of discussion. It was revealed later on that it had been a miracle I could compete in Nove Mesto. So I was watching how I was dropping back in the World Cup standing and was hoping to be in top 15. I could not influence it but it was “couch goal”.
Q: What is the summary of your season?
L.B.: I think I had a fairly successful season even though I did not reach the main goal (top 3 in Tour de Ski). I am convinced I could have been there if there had not been the collision in the 7th stage with Reto Burgermeister but things like that happen. After Otepää I successfully tested the new model of high altitude preparation so in all I am satisfied.
Q: Who was the surprise of the season for you?
L.B.: There were couple of surprises. Devon Kershaw had immensely consistent season. Among the youngsters, Niklas Dyrhaug delivered great results since Tour de Ski or Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson had a strong first half of the season. Russian skiers have been carrying on the momentum and they have many good young athletes. Last but not least I would like to mention Johan Olsson who has improved a lot in free technique and took several top results.
Q: How do you evaluate your independent training model and collaboration with the German team? Are you going to continue this year as well?
L.B.: I feel the cooperation with Germans was very good and I would like to continue. I have talked with Janko Neuber little bit, who has been in charge of the training group based in Oberwiesenthal. He was also positive but we will have to wait and see what the new German head coach will say. Currently I am focused on getting back in shape and then I will work with the details of cooperation. I am sure that it has been fruitful for both sides so I think we will find a way of cooperation also in the future. I will naturally join the Czech team for couple of training camps. I have a basic idea but I will know more at the beginning of May.
Q: How will the Czech team look like next year?
L.B.: There have been some changes also in the Czech team. At the beginning we were discussing, according my opinion, serious matters related to the World Cup. Now, the changes do not seem to that crucial and they should cast any negative effect on our results. In short, there should be six athletes in the team, 1-2 ladies, 1 coach + 1 assistant, a few young guys are joining the service staff; there are new coaches with the B team, new pool manager, etc.
Q: When do you plan to jump in the training again? What are your plans for the spring and summer?
L.B.: As I’ve said already, I do not want to do the recovery with too much haste, but I hope to be back in training by middle of May. The preliminary training plan features skiing in Ramsau in June, in Oberhof in July, then a training camp in the Czech Republic with the crucial part at home on Bozi Dar from 20th August to 4th September. Then I will be going again to Dachstein two times and I will be traditionally training in Muonio in November. That’s the plan, which might be adjusted according to when I am fully back in training. In case of the training cooperation with the Oberwiesenthal group a training camp can be replaced with another one.