SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France: A 105-year-old French cyclist set a new one-hour record for his age Wednesday — although Robert Marchand was already in a class all of his own.
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 afterwards.
Marchand dismounted and although his coach put his arm around him, he walked off the track without difficulty.
When a reporter asked if he was going to do another lap, he said emphatically: “No!”
“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.
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.
There is no known mark for someone of 105, so Marchand truly blazed a trail on Wednesday.
The former national gymnastics champion, boxer and firefighter 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!”