Nearly a century ago, Robert Marchand was told by a coach that he should give up cycling because he would never achieve anything on a bike.
He proved that prediction wrong. Frenchman Robert Marchand set a new world record Wednesday when he cycled 22.547 kilometers in an hour — at the age of 105.
Marchand completed 92 laps at the Velodrome National, an indoor track near Paris that’s used for elite cycling events. According to The Associated Press, he set a new record for the 105-plus age group and received a standing ovation from people in the crowd, who chanted “Robert, Robert” as he rolled to a stop.
“I am not here to be a champion. I am here to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike,” Marchand said.
So what’s his secret? Marchand’s coach and friend Gerard Mistler told it’s simple: He eats fruits and vegetables, doesn’t smoke, drinks wine only on occasion, goes to bed at 9 p.m. and exercises every day.
The diminutive Marchand – he is 1.52 meters (5-foot) tall and weighs 52 kilograms (115 pounds) – rode from Bordeaux to Paris, and Paris to Roubaix several times. He also cycled to Moscow from Paris in 1992 and set the record for someone over the age of 100 riding 100 kilometers (62 miles).
“If the president of his teenage club who told him he was not made for cycling because he was too small could see him today, he would kick himself,” Marchand’s coach and good friend Gerard Mistler said.
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