By Andrè Santos
We all must agree that Lukas Bauer is one of the most important persons in our sport. Not only has he been a reference in FIS World Cup races and at the Winter Olympic Games, he is also a reference in the world of long distance skiing and specifically in the Visma Ski Classics Pro Tour. Now he manages his own pro team, ED System Bauer Team, and he helps his athletes to follow his footsteps. Who doesn't enjoy watching Katerina Smutna (Visma Ski Classics Hall of Fame) and Ilya Chernosouv (Olympic medalist) when they compete in the Pro Tour? And what about Alexis Jeannerod, the best non-Scandinavian skier of Visma Ski Classics in Season IX?
With this in mind, we talked to Alexis Jeannerod, a former member of the French national team and an actual long distance skier with ambitions to reach the top of the tour, in order to know a bit more about this athlete and to ask him to share his thoughts about training and long distance skiing in France.
Tell us a bit more about your background. Why did you decide to step into the long distance world?
I started to ski very early, at the age of 3 I was already gliding on snow with my family. Then I started competing in my home club and I've evolved step by step until I became a member of the French national cross-country ski team. I've always been better at classic style and got my best World Cup results in this technique. I think I fell in love with long distance races after I took part in Birkebeinerrennet in 2016 where I met Lukas Bauer. During the spring of 2016, I was looking for a Visma Ski Classics Pro Team and I got a chance from Lukas to enter ED System Bauer Team.
What has been the impact of being a member of ED System Bauer Team in your development as a long distance skier?
It's like being part of a family. Lukas has always been focused on having the best atmosphere first and then on the results. And often a good atmosphere brings good performances! The fact that we have many nationalities in the team makes us see the sport differently. By sharing our own experiences, I feel more confident and open-minded.
I've improved step by step because during my two first seasons in the team Lukas let me race in both World Cup and Visma Ski Classics races. It was a good opportunity to learn the differences between traditional skiing and long distance skiing. After 2018 season, when I missed the qualification for the Olympics, I decided to be fully focused on the Visma Ski Classic Pro Tour.
How has your summer training been? Any training camps or special workouts you would like to share with us?
It has been good so far. I've had longer camps than in the previous years and a lot of quality training sessions. The best workout is, of course, running intervals in the swamps in Lukas' home place...always funny!
France is known for its biathlon athletes, but not so much for long distance skiers. What is the perception that French people have about long distance skiing?
Yes, biathlon is in full expansion in France as we have great athletes with great results and the TV interest is getting bigger and bigger. But I think this helps Nordic skiing in general and thanks to La Chaine l'Equipe, long distance skiing gets a big chance to be well-known as well. Then it's up to us (French athletes) since we have to fight for the podium spots to gain interest.
Besides skiing, do study at the moment? What are your future plans in terms of a career?
Nothing original, but I did study sports at a university and I'm really interested in training and coaching. If I get the opportunity, I want be a coach!
How do you fuel for your races? What do you eat?
I'm known as the biggest eater in the team and that's good when you do long distance races. I eat everything, but rice, potatoes, bananas and chocolate are my best friends!
What are your goals for the next season?
Last season, I finished 11th overall and got a 6th place as my personal best result. So, my goals for this season are to be in the top 10 overall and to enter the top 5 in some races!