105-year-old Frenchman pedals into history books

A 105-year-old Frenchman set a new one-hour cycling record for his age Wednesday -- although Robert Marchand was already in a class of his own.

Robert Marchand.jpg
French centenarian cyclist Robert Marchand, 105 reacts after setting a one-hour track cycling World record in the over-105 age group at 22.547m, at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines race track on January 4, 2017. LOPEZ / AFP

 

Marchand pedalled for 22.547 kilometres (14.01 miles) in the national velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines west of Paris to the cheers of hundreds of spectators -- and when he had finished he said he could have gone faster.

 

"I didn't see the sign saying there were 10 minutes to go, otherwise I would have speeded up," the wiry champion told a scrum of reporters who surrounded him at the finish.

 

Marchand dismounted and although a coach put a steadying arm around him, he walked off the track without difficulty.

 

"I'm not tired, my legs aren't hurting, but my arms are. It has to hurt somewhere!" he said after doing 92 laps of the track.

 

"I feel emotional -- and I'm even asking myself if all this is real!" said Marchand, who was born in 1911, three years before World War I began.

 

When a reporter asked if he was going to do another lap, he said emphatically: "No!"

 

Age is slowing him though -- three years ago he managed to ride 26.927 km in one hour, a record for someone aged over 100.

 

Robert Marchand track.jpg
French centenarian cyclist Robert Marchand, 105, rides in his attempt to set a one-hour track cycling World record in the over-105 age group, at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines race track on January 4, 2017. PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP

 

No rivals


There was no known existing mark for someone of 105, so Marchand truly blazed a trail on Wednesday.

 

"Now I'll wait and see if anyone wants to take me on," he said with a chuckle.

 

By comparison, the one-hour world record is 54.526 km, set by British Tour de France winner and multiple Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins.

 

Marchand, a retired firefighter who was a national gymnastics champion and a boxer, attributes his enduring fitness to a healthy diet -- and lots of exercise.

 

"I've done sport all my life, eaten loads of fruit and vegetables, not too much coffee," he said before the record attempt.

 

"I do between 10 and 20 kilometres a day (cycling), but I don't train outside. I'm afraid I might catch flu!"

 

One of his coaches, Jean-Michel Richefort, said he felt "really emotional" about his not-so-young charge's achievement.

 

"He went off very fast and I was afraid he'd have cramp. But he kept his form, he was very focused and he followed a perfect line," he said.

 

As the celebrations continued, Marchand was asked if he now had his eye on the record for 110-year-olds.

 

"It's a long way off -- let's talk about it at a later date," he said.






10 Comments

Comments

No Hare, Jan 04 2017 09:12

Respect 

andydude, Jan 05 2017 12:17

When I can I will try to plot the hour record times per age category. Mainly for my own interest :)

'Dale, Jan 05 2017 05:47

How special is that category

105> πŸ’ͺ🏾πŸ’ͺ🏾

Vetseun, Jan 05 2017 07:09

I think I could take him in a race.
Will be close but ..... me FTW

Kalahari Vegmot, Jan 05 2017 07:26

It would not take to much to break the hour record for your age if you are 105; all you need to do is cycle for an hour :ph34r:

Mongoose!, Jan 05 2017 07:59

:thumbup:  :thumbup: excellent

 

Shimano should have sponsored him with some 105 components :w00t: ...but some will say the weight should have slow him down...haha 

shaper, Jan 05 2017 08:00

Kudos!!

CASSIE1975, Jan 05 2017 08:28

What an achievement!!!

lechatnoir, Jan 05 2017 08:48

It would not take to much to break the hour record for your age if you are 105; all you need to do is cycle for an hour :ph34r:

 

yeah, but first you need to get to 105... 

 

:clap:  bravo young man!!!

Cheese, Jan 05 2017 02:36

:thumbup:  :thumbup: excellent

 

Shimano should have sponsored him with some 105 components :w00t: ...but some will say the weight should have slow him down...haha 

ja, Would have been great marketing.

 

Reminded me when we found the 81 year old a few years ago just outside Bloemfontein completing his 100km solo ride.

 

I will be greatfull for the same health at that age.