Interview: An Injury Update with Adrien Dailly

Nov 1, 2018
by Matt Wragg  
Adrien Dailly

After a difficult start to 2018, Adrien Dailly looked like he was back on form by round 3 in Olargues as he pushed Richie Rude every step of the way. Yet only days later, on the notoriously unforgiving trails around Peille, the home of his mentor, Nico Vouilloz, he took a bad fall, breaking his elbow. That left him on the sidelines for the rest of the year. We stopped by his home in Nice, France to see how he is recovering and what his plans are for 2019.

Can you give us an update on your elbow?

Yes. After four months and a half, my bone is still not fixed. So, I'm going to stop riding the mountain bike, the BMX, and a bit of my weight training. I'll just focus on fixing my bone, and that's it. I'm going to wait and see if that works, or not. That means I cannot start really training until February now. I need to let the bone heal, I have two pins in my arm and with them in my tricep is not good, I can't really contract the muscle, so I also need to have them removed before I can come back to racing. It's going to take a long time.

A break there can be a career-ender, can't it?

Yeah, it's worse than a normal fracture, it takes a long time to heal, but it's going well. I'm good. I'm not going to be ready for the start of the season, but for sure I'll be good by the end of the season.

So just road bikes for now?

Yeah, I even had to stop weight training for my upper body. Road bike, running and... actually, that's it.

Do you know if you will be there at the start line in New Zealand then?

I think I'm going to ride, I'm going to race, but I can't say if I will be ready or not. I don't really know when I will be ready to get back to 100%.

Is it harder for you to be out injured, knowing you are the only racer Lapierre has? Is there more pressure to get back to racing?

I think so, yeah. It's tough to be alone for Lapierre. Well, we have Chloe [Gallean] too, but she injured her knee about the same time I got hurt, neither of us raced again after Olargues, so yeah, it's tough, but it's part of the risk of racing and they understand that, they've been great.

Are there any changes to your programme for 2019?

Very similar to last year, I will keep going with Lapierre, with SRAM and Michelin, and every sponsor from this year.

Will Nico Vouilloz still be part of your programme and how does he help you?

For sure Nico will be with me again, he's like a second father to me. He helps with my bike, when I was injured he helped me with the doctors, with advice about what I need to do, he helps me with my motivation.

One final question - Lapierre have a new, 29 Spicy coming, will we see you on bigger wheels next year?

Yes, the new bike can do both sizes though, so I can have 29 or 27.5. We're going to do some testing, then I can choose. It's cool, to have both. I haven't chosen yet. Me, I'm small, so maybe riding 27.5 is better for me as it's easy, but we'll see with 29.


  • 18 4
 Modern elbow protectors are so light you can barely feel them - it's a complete mystery to me why professional riders do not wear them. Same goes to shoulder protection....
  • 5 5
 @pr3dator they dont wear elbow pads 'cause its uncool.. pros wear short sleeve jerseys... its badass... until shit happens...
  • 22 6
 I think this is a fairly rare case, where the injury occurs close to the point, where the force was transmitted (by the looks of the break). So actually a fall on the ulna directly. Normally elbow fractures will occur by falling on your hand or similar.
With shoulders it is even more clear. I find shoulder protection utterly useless (to prevent serious injury) and believe me, I got more than my fair share of injuries, including shoulder sep.
You don't f*ck up your shoulder falling on your shoulder. You don't break vertebrae falling on your vertebrae. You don't break your femur falling on your femur. You don't break your radius falling on your radius. List goes on and on. SX guys got it. The only effective injury prevention methods are training (muscle AND flexibility), getting routine in what you are doing, and good risk assessment. That's why the pros don't wear excessive protection (gigidi). To prevent flesh wounds full armor is all right, though. At least that is my experience and for non pros it surely makes sense to wear rather more than less protection gear, we gotta go to work on Monday...
  • 2 1
 @Lagr1980: No elbow pads, no back protection, not even any gloves....
  • 6 1
 @ArturoBandini: Actually you can break your shoulder falling on your shoulder. The shoulder includes the humerus, clavicle, and scapula (I broke 2/3 of these falling on my shoulder). And yes you can break your vertebrae falling on your vertebrae (ask anyone that's landed on their back in an injury). And yes you can break your elbow falling on it (case in point).
  • 2 1
 I think shoulder protectors may just allow the shoulder to be pushed further out of place by the impact. I was wearing shoulder protection and I still received pretty bad muscle damage from displacement, although no acute impact damage.

Arm pads though... the new D30/SAS Tech pads are awesome and have saved me from injury several times. I just don't see the downsides.
  • 2 1
 @davec113: Dave, you can't over generalize like that about shoulder protection. That's ridiculous. Every crash is unique in terms of velocity, vector, distance, each rider's age, skeletal and muscular issues, etc., even when falling on the same trail feature. Pads generally help mitigate injuries, they definitely don't promise to prevent them.
  • 17 0
 I broke my Olecranon (same piece Adrien broke) from a fall directly onto my elbow. The elbow pad I was wearing did nothing to stop the break as it's the humerus (upper arm bone) punching through the Olecranon (Socket of the elbow) that caused my injury. This may have been different to Adrien's crash but I wouldn't be surprised if it was similar.

From by experience every bone I have broken as been through excessive loading and twisting and not through direct impact to the break site. Pads can help in some situations but most of the time they just help to reduce bruises and scrapes. Pro's make their decisions through experience, evidence and personal preference. If most of them aren't wearing pads it's because they don't believe the protection provided is worth the increase in discomfort/hindered mobility/obstruction to circulation.
  • 1 0
 @CaptainSnappy: Yes, that's obvious. I said "may"... not "never wear shoulder protection". I've had one shoulder injury pads may have helped but another where I believe the pads made things worse. So yeah, I'm not convinced it's a great idea to put pads on the shoulder that may displace the shoulder to a greater extent in a crash vs not having them there. It's up to the rider to decide what's best, I'm just sharing my experience with it.
  • 1 0
 In my experience the elbow hits the floor before a knee on any high speed stack.
  • 2 0
 @ArturoBandini: Cannot agree more. Muscles and flexibility can save you in places where pads will not.
  • 2 0
 @ben-cathro: I think both is right - fractures through direct impact of relating bone to something and fractures through bending moments.
I broke my ulna by "defending" a tree jumping in my line as well as my wrist through excessive load on the hand.

I always asked myself if protection will help to prevent serious injuries and decided to wear knee protection only. The reason is, on every simple crash, your knee will mostly be injured.
  • 1 0
Makes sense, though I cracked a rib falling on my rib, and a sneaky root.
If you think it's painful, wait till you sneeze ... or till a friend cracks a hilarious joke, then it gets rough.
  • 1 0
 Just listen to all you doctors
  • 1 0
 @ben-cathro: but it's also apparent that the younger top level riders, more and more wear upper body protection. (Bruni, Maes) especially in enduro!?
It did'nt prevent their major injuries though but it seems to them the pros outweigh the cons.
5 years ago I struggled to find a good balanced ubp (protection vs. restriction) and put that down to there not being enough demand.
BUT if pro athletes would (have to) wear it, close to racing development would lead towards better functioning product - so I was thinking.
And knee protection undisputable has come a long way because it's intensly worn.

I think that pro athletes generally are still just the grown up version of the aspiring youngsters they were, and what they saw back then remains their standard.
Until someone with out of the Box thinking catches them off guard and shows the benefits.
So for being a role model for one and for staying competitive for the other it would be very beneficial if athletes would wear and develop body armor that could prevent one or the other injury. And be more vocal about it. It still is branded to be uncool by athletes saying the benefits outweigh the reward, while at the same time their competition proofs that thesis to be wrong.
Would like to hear your take on that.
  • 1 0
 Bruni and vergier do and it doesn't seem it is slowing them down
  • 11 1
 I thought, looking at the picture, “what did he do to his knee... Nooooooooo! That’s not a knee.”

A Lapierre rider getting injured, I’m assuming falling on a piece of rock... how weird.

Well, I hope you get to full recovery as fast as humanly possible.
  • 4 1
 knot a nee
  • 2 0
 +1 for the la pierre pun!
Also, I hope he recovers quickly!
  • 3 0
 Best of luck for a great fix to your elbow. You deserve to be out there fighting for EWS wins against Sam, Martin & Richie ????
  • 3 0
 Go show those roadies how its done to keep your legs strong in the meantime!
  • 2 0
 Get Well Adrien ! Take your time! We all be wishing to see you again on top form and fight into the big boys club flying on the rocks like anyone else !
  • 4 1
 Now that is a swellbow if I've ever seen one! Speedy recovery!
  • 3 2
 It's been ~4-5 months, I think "speedy recovery" wishes are well passed!
  • 2 0
 @doakwolf: "Speedy" is a relative term to the injury that's sustained. Concussion? Complete recovery in a year could be considered "speedy".
  • 3 0
 Rugged. A long road ahead. Bon courage!
  • 3 0
 Can't wait to see you back on the bike Adri! A tres bientot!
  • 3 0
 One of the most stylish guys there, hope he'll be charging next season
  • 1 0
 Yow. My elbow looked like that once when I was a teen. It got caught between two full speed impacting football helmets. Still hurts me 20 years later.
  • 2 0
 Hang in there bro! Bonne chance! Smile
  • 3 6
 Pros riding without sensible protectors/pads is just very UNprofessoinal and plain dumb. This behavior seems really popular in mtb'ing. For me us mtb'rs are by far the dumbest sport guys on the planet.
No elbow pads, no gloves, no shin pads (I have had bloody bruises on shins in spite of pads) pro downhillers with no back pads, in one recent PB video guys riding in rocky technical terrain without kneepads in a sport which is one of the most likely to break some bones, all just because it is cool.
On the other hand course having a hole in your knee/ellbow/hand or broken bones/cast is really cool.
  • 1 0
 Lapierre also got the Team Rocky Sport to ride the new Spicy!
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