What do bikes, dogs, and France have in common? Levi Leipheimer that’s what—let me tell you why. Not only is Levi Team Discovery’s top hope to win this year’s Tour de France (you know, that ginourmous bike race in Europe that Lance Armstrong won a bunch of times?), he is also the star of a brand new PETA ad, encouraging people to have their companion animals spayed and neutered. Check out the ad starring Levi and his rescued pup Bandit (to the right), then scroll down to read the interview.
When did you decide to pursue cycling professionally?
I started riding when I was 13, and I basically knew then that it was what I wanted to do. I race for seven months of the year and train for 10. During the off-season, I usually ride my mountain bike for fun. In an average training week, I ride between two and seven hours a day.
We heard that you enjoy eating vegetarian food. Is there one vegetarian dish that you would recommend for athletes in training?
Every day when I head out on my bike, I’m fueled by an energy-packed vegetarian breakfast of oatmeal, apples, blueberries, strawberries, and nuts. I’ve done this for years. My favorite post-ride meal is pasta with lots of garlic and sunflower seeds or pine nuts.
What message would you like to get out to folks about how they can help reduce companion animal overpopulation?
In the Unites States, there really isn’t any excuse for not spaying and neutering your pets. There are low-cost spay-neuter options in almost every city and town. All you have to do is look.
You have a lot of fans out there, which gives you a powerful platform to reach people and make a difference. What is your message to them about having compassion and getting active to help animals?
The world belongs to animals, too—it’s not just ours for the taking. Be kind to animals.
Levi is currently in 3rd place, so ride like the wind Levi…ride like the wind.