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Interview with Christophe Leveque, #1 AA Pro Racer for Specialized and Double A Marketing
The following interview was conducted September 19, 1999
BMXTREME: Christophe, you had a great day yesterday (he won all three mains) and you said to me that it's the best you have felt all year. Can you elaborate on that?
CHRISTOPHE LEVEQUE: What happened, pretty much, was two weeks before the Fall Nationals in Perris in '98, I hurt my back then for the next 5 months I didn't do any good training…I didn't do any gates, no gym, and stuff like that, so when I came back I was still able to race but I wasn't riding between the races. I didn't do anything for a long time. So, when I started training again, we were racing a lot, so I was training in between races and didn't get better fast enough because I was just tired. Anyway, I did take a little break the last couple of weeks so I guess that's why I am doing better. I was training very hard and I just didn't do anything the last couple of weeks, so that's why I think I am feeling so well now.
BMXTREME: Does it feel good to be back where you were before the injury?
CHRISTOPHE: Yeah, you know '99 has been a tough season for me filled with a lot of frustration. Yesterday was just a good day for me. We still have more races to come, and I know I'm back now. I raced pretty good the last couple of weeks so I know I'm ready again. After having a season like I did (in 1998) when you start winning again it's a great feeling so I'm happy to be here again and let's see if I can get enough points for the ABA Grands and maybe get a second title.
BMXTREME: Do you think you can ever top 1998?
CHRISTOPHE: Like I said, 1998 was my best year as far as results, but it's pretty much impossible to do better.
BMXTREME: Unless you do that plus the ESPN series if that ever comes out.
CHRISTOPHE: (laughter) Yeah. But I was physically not feeling to well all year long. I wasn't feeling in good shape. But by the results, I guess I was doing good. 1998 was 1998, 1999 is 1999. Now I'm looking forward to the next season: 2000.
BMXTREME: Last year it was pretty much just you and John Purse. Now there are about 5 guys who have a shot. If it's not you, who do you think it will be?
CHRISTOPHE: You know first, I just want to say that me, Thomas, and Danny are up there in the ABA, but we also race NBL. There are 3 people in the top 6 that just race ABA. It's easy that way to be able to have enough points for the ABA Grands, so I hope the winner is going to be someone who deserves it, who races the NBL too. I don't want to say it's too easy (racing one sanction) because anything can happen at the ABA Grands, everyone knows that. And I'm not saying if you don't race NBL, only ABA, that you don't deserve to win the ABA title, but it is a lot easier that way.
BMXTREME: It's no doubt that you're into training. Aside from sprints, what do you think is the most important thing to do for training?
CHRISTOPHE: I've always said training is not about riding for 5 hours every day. If you're riding for 5 hours a day, you're not doing the right things. You're not going anywhere. So training is a combination of everything: explosive power, strength, gym, road ride, everything working together. If you don't have the constant training schedule, then you're pretty much not going anywhere.
BMXTREME: How about diet and supplements? How does that play a role in your life and schedule?
CHRISTOPHE: I eat pretty much what I want. No junk food though. I don't have any strict diet. But I take vitamin C, protein, stuff like that.
BMXTREME: Why do you think cycling as a whole isn't taken as seriously in the U.S. as it is over in Europe?
CHRISTOPHE: What do you mean?
BMXTREME: Well, it seems that people are more serious about cycling overseas. Even at the BMX level kids in France, for instance, are practicing, working on things, and training at the races, whereas here in the U.S. we just come out and ride.
CHRISTOPHE: You know, in America you have football, basketball, baseball… in France we have bikes. Little kids ride bicycles, mostly road ride. But it's tradition… it's old, old stuff in Europe. That's why, that's the only difference.
BMXTREME: Do you see other differences in BMX from here and in France?
CHRISTOPHE: Yeah, everything is different. The competition, the level…
BMXTREME: Is the level better?
CHRISTOPHE: In Europe? No. It's not like that. But it's different, believe me. Everything: the track, racing, the level, everything.
BMXTREME: Do you think the sanctions are ever going to listen to the pros in regards to not as many races, better track design, etc.?
CHRISTOPHE: No! What I don't understand is that we have to ride on the same track as the five year old little kids. And that I don't understand. And what else I don't understand is that we have 25-30 weekends of racing, and sometimes we spend 12 hours a day at the track which is unbelievable. It's too much. On the one side it's good because we make money, but on the other side it's hard and, and painful.
BMXTREME: What do you do outside of BMX as far as hobbies go?
CHRISTOPHE: You know, to tell you the truth I'm not doing anything, uh, why? Because between the races all I want to do is lay down and rest and let my body recover. But I like basketball, I like…
WADE BOOTES: (Interrupting) Hey Christophe, what's happening?
BMXTREME: If you weren't a pro BMXer, what would you be doing:
CHRISTOPHE: I have no idea. Who knows.
BMXTREME: How come you race cruiser at the Worlds but not at nationals in the U.S.?
CHRISTOPHE: At the Worlds you race cruiser on Friday and 20-inch on Sunday, so you don't have to switch bikes. Here you have one lap 20-inch, one lap cruiser. I can't do that. I don't like it.
BMXTREME: What are we going to see from Christophe Leveque in the year 2000?
CHRISTOPHE: As far as goals go, I want to be able to be the best rider. This year I had a tough year. I don't want to race ever again like I did this season. Next year I just want to win races and get enough points for the ABA Grands, and well, you know – ABA Grands! A couple laps and that's it.
BMXTREME: Ok, thanks and good luck. Is there anyone you want to thank?
CHRISTOPHE: Yes, I want to say thanks to Specialized for supporting me and all my co-sponsors. And that's it!
Copyright 1999. All rights reserved.