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by Shane Stokes
January 11, 2018
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It’s a well-earned rest, although he’ll continue to cycle for pleasure. At 106 years of age, French rider Robert Marchand has ended his competitive career, with a friend saying that he will no longer seek to set new records. The rider stunned the world of cycling in February 2012 when he targeted a new world record for the over 100 age group. Although no others had set such a mark – for obvious reasons – he impressed by covering 24.250 kilometres (15.068 miles).
Just under two years later he improved on this, travelling 26.927 kilometres (16.732 miles) in 60 minutes. In between those two efforts, he went to the Parc de la Tête d’Or Velodrome in Lyon in September 2013 and rode 300 laps, totalling 100 kilometres. He covered that distance in a remarkable four hours 17 minutes 27 seconds, again setting a new standard.
Speaking afterwards, he played down his achievement. “I feel like a guy who is a hundred years old, I feel good. I’m an ordinary guy,” he said, showing considerable modesty. “I rode a bike for 52 years, it is not new today.”
Marchand did the hour record again in January of last year, covering 22.547 kilometres (14.010 miles) and setting a new mark for those of 105 years of age and over. Then, last August, he earned a world championship title in the same age bracket.
Stretching and doing resistance exercises each day plus riding his indoor trainer, Marchand maintained a level of fitness which would put people far younger to shame. He credited a diet consisting of a lot of fruit and vegetables, a small amount of meat, “not too much coffee”, “no cigarettes” and “very little alcohol” and sport as being elements of his longevity.
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