2022 saw Max make the transition from the junior ranks into the U23 peloton, joining Team dsm-firmenich’s Development program. An unfortunate start to the year with illness and injury saw him build throughout the season where he went to pick up some impressive results such as sixth on GC at Giro Valle d’Aosta, before a tenth place overall at the Sazka Tour which was followed up with seventh at the Pro level Arctic Race of Norway. The reserved and placid Max says of his opening year: “it’s gone pretty well so far with the team.”
Immediately at the start of the year he raced alongside the Men’s program at the Tour of the Alps which the team won – which was a bit of a surreal experience for the then 18-year-old Max.
“It was strange to rub shoulders with the guys in the peloton that I’ve watched on TV and looked up to, such as Romain [Bardet,] who was a good role model to have at that race.”
Not from a cycling family as such, Max has an interesting back story as to how he got into the sport of cycling. His dad was a “bit of an athlete”, and while working a job as a window cleaner, he got speaking to one of his clients who took their kids along to Quibell Park in Scunthorpe for some training sessions. Max went along one time “to see what it was like” and from there he was hooked, taking up track, road and cyclocross – juggling all of that alongside his football commitments. Eventually he stopped with the latter and fully focused on cycling.
“I got to a point where I had to choose. I thought that I had a talent for cycling, and I really enjoyed it, and still do. At the time it was something different and it sparked an interest for me; there’s something about it how it is both a physical and tactical sport – I was just hooked.”
Showcasing some stereotypical dry British humour, Max thinks of himself as “calm”, “laid-back” and “a bit cheeky”. He thinks those attributes help him on and off the bike because when it is all very hectic then he can stay focused and not let things bother him too much or create extra stress.
Looking ahead to the coming years with the team, his opening season with the Development program has “definitely helped” and will hopefully “ease the jump” as he goes full-time with the Men’s program. In 2023, Max’s main goal is to keep progressing, keep improving and “be as good as I can.” In the end if that means it is Max or someone else going for the result, he is unfazed – he just wants to do his best for the guys and the team.
Talkative and relaxed, you can find Max spending his free time chatting to his mates while playing Xbox, seeing his family, or going to local cafés. If not, he’s often found vibing to some British rap and drill. One interesting fact about him is that the village he comes from only has a population of around 300 people; something which Max jokes that “some of the guys on the team don’t believe me.”