Anyone who studied the Rio 2016 men’s road race start list in any detail may have been a bit surprised by the inclusion of one of the riders in Germany’s four-man team.
Maximilian Levy is scheduled to join Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step), Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Argon 18) in the race on August 6 on a course that doesn’t entirely suit his skillset.
It’s unlikely that Levy encounters many hills or mountains, having spent his entire career in the velodrome, winning a silver and two bronzes in two Olympic appearances and claiming four world championship titles.
He may be down on the list for the road race, but in all likelihood the strapping sprinter probably won’t see the first hill on the rolling and mountainous route.
In fact, the Germans are using the same trick that they did in London four years ago in order to get a fourth sprinter for track team. Rules brought in for London 2012 meant that only three sprinters can be named, with only one rider per nation allowed to compete in the individual sprint events and then a team of three for the team sprint.
Four years ago, Germany named thunder-thighs Robert Forstemann in their mountain biking squad, despite never having raced in the discipline. Forstemann went on to form part of the team sprint and ride in the individual sprint competition.
Levy finished fourth in the Keirin at the World Championships in London this year – an event won by his teammate Joachim Eilers. No German riders shone particularly brightly in the individual sprint, while Levy didn’t form part of the team sprint trio either.
But at the Olympics, with the sprint events coming thick and fast we could see Levy drafted in to race the Keirin or the sprint if required.