He’s one of the most experienced riders you’re likely to find. Having competed in 3 Olympic games with 3 medals, and on track for Tokyo 2020; a former World Champion, European Champion, German National Champion and the first German rider to go under 10 sec in the 200m – and to top it all off, one of the nicest people you’re likely to meet!
We interview Maximilian Levy.
How did you get into track cycling?
When I was young, I lived at Berlin and there my bike has been stolen a few times. So I asked my parents again and again for a new one and so one day they stopped buying new bikes and sent me to a cycling club. At the same time the Berlin Velodrome was opened and I was one of the first riders riding at this track.
What has been your biggest achievement to date? Would you rate your Olympic medal, world championship title, or world record as higher?
It’s hard to bring them in line and tell you what’s more important. All of them where hardly fought. Even my last European title was very special after breaking my collarbone for the third time and because of this I almost retired, but I came back. So every medal has its own story!
Your one of the most experienced riders around, how do you adapt to the continuous changes in track cycling? And what would you say has changed the most in track cycling since you started?
Well yes, everything changes but the most important things are still the same… the one with the fastest legs and the best psyche wins! So, in fact gears are bigger than I could imagine 12 years ago. My first Keirin World title I used 52:14. I am still very good on small gears; I can do a sub 10secs with 52:14 or 57:12. As it’s a big range you need to train with all of them. Crazy also equipment, at my first Olympics we still competed with normal helmets at sprint and Keirin, now everything about aero and socks until the knee. People forget that you have to do step 1, 2 and 3 before you need to think about step 15, which could be the socks. Rules? Yeah it’s the UCI, what do I need to say more about that? 🙂
You’ve been competing at the highest level for since a junior, how do you stay motivated?
I love what I do! There are many hard moments in living as an athlete, leaving the kids alone for training camps, or injuries. But still I feel it´s a unique life I live. I was at every continent at this world. I met so many people on this road and as long as I feel I can improve, I feel good.
What would you say is your best characteristic for success?
I always want to improve and I think I always know realistic at which level I am.
What is your favorite event to compete in?
I like the Sprint and Keirin
What is a typical day like for Max Levy?
Not even one day is like the other! I have three kids 🙂
What are you interests outside of cycling?
Well I watch a lot of road cycling and it was a secret desire coming true in riding the Road race at Rio Olympics. Outside of cycling there is not too much time for other things. It feels like even the life of my wife and kids are based on cycling and my life as a professional cyclist.
You have a wife and kids, how do you manage your family responsibilities and your life as a professional cyclist?
Well I do my best, but sometimes it feels like it’s not enough. In winter time when we go race and training camps it’s the hard moments I described earlier. I think about bringing the family to Cape Town next January… (for the annual German national team training camp)
You recently completed an Iron Man, tell us more about that experience?
For me it’s important to change my point of view. So I did last year in getting vice national champion at team pursuit. This time it was more extreme but I had the desire to do that and feel how you feel after 12 hours of competition.
What is something we wouldn’t know about you?
There are many things, but that’s why nobody knows 🙂
You come train in Cape Town every year, what do you like about it?
I like the conditions and the flair of Cape Town. In Germany is winter at that time and it feels like a holiday where you ride your bike. So I am always happy to there. I also like wine. 🙂
What is next for Max Levy? Your future goals, Tokyo 2020, and life after cycling?
Let´s see, I haven’t made too many long term decisions just yet.
From your vast experience, what advice would you give to junior cyclists? What’s the one thing you’d like younger riders to know when getting started?
Never do a standing start from the back straight!!!
Would you mind sharing some of your stats with us? My best times:
200m flying: 9,563 1000m TT: 57,93 500m flying 25,38
Be sure to follow Maximilian Levy’s journey:
Interview by Matthew de Freitas Co-founder of BLS