A French cyclist, Robert Marchand has made remarkable history by cycling more than 14 miles round a track in an hour.
The 105-year-old Frenchman set a world record on Wednesday, in the 105+ age category – created especially for him – by riding 22.547km during his latest attempt.
Marchand thrilled a crowd at the velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris as one of the oldest cyclists with his new record, even though he may not be the fastest cyclist round a velodrome.
More interesting is the fact that this is not Marchand’s first; he already holds the record for those aged over 100 – 26.927km – set in 2012.
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The former firefighter, who subsists on his pension in a small flat outside of Paris, said he could have gone further than the 92 laps, but he missed a crucial timing board, showing 10 minutes to go.
Speaking to press men after his giant feat, Marchand said; “Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time. I’m now waiting for a rival.”
He also admitted that though his arms hurt because of rheumatism, his legs didn’t hurt. Before the event, he also fairly admitted that breaking his previous hour record would be tough.
In his words to AFP news agency; “I’m not in such good shape as I was a couple of years back. I am not here to be champion. I am here to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike.”
Marchand’s coach, Gerard Mistler, said he would not be surprised to see him continue cycling because setting goals for himself is part of his personality. “If he tells me he wants to improve his record, I’ll be game. Robert is a great example for all of us,” he said.
Born on 26 November 1911, Mr Marchand puts his fitness down to diet – lots of fruit and vegetables, a little meat, not too much coffee – and an hour a day on the cycling home-trainer.
A prisoner of war in World War Two, he went on to work as a lorry driver and sugarcane planter in Venezuela, and a lumberjack in Canada.
Robert Marchand is also a multi-dimensional sportsman asides cycling, as he has competed in gymnastics at national level and has been a boxer.
In recent years, professional riders have been stretching their careers into their 40s, but none of these pros have anything on Robert Marchand when it comes to longevity.