100 year old Frenchman aiming for unique 100 kilometre record today
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Friday, September 28, 2012

100 year old Frenchman aiming for unique 100 kilometre record today

by Shane Stokes at 8:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Video
Evergreen cyclist stuns scientists with his fitness and health

Robert MarchandA little over six months after 100 year old Frenchman Robert Marchand set the oldest ever track record, he continues to push back at the erosion of youth and set himself another major goal.

In February he set an hour record for his age group, covering 24.251 kilometres in the World Cycling Centre in Switzerland despite being instructed by doctors not to exceed a heart-rate of 110 beats per minute. “I’m not playing at being a champion,” he said at the time. “I just wanted to do something for my 100th birthday.”

Today the centenarian is aiming to become the fastest rider his age to cover 100 kilometres, or 62 miles. He has been training for that goal and is hoping to average 22.5 km/h, thus completing the distance in less than five hours.

“If I make it, I'll become the best in the world,” he said, according to Reuters. “I know that all over the world, in China, in the United States, in Russia, they're already looking for someone to beat my record.”

He was asked if he would use any performance-enhancing substances during his attempt. “The only doping for me is water with a spoonful of honey that I put in my canteen [water bottle] - that's it,” he answered, before joking, “if I was doping, though, maybe I could hit 35 km/h.”

Marchand is an utterly inspiring character due to his energy, persistence and attitude to life. “I am lucky that I haven’t had any major health problems,” he said in February. “My advice to anyone, young or old, is to keep moving. I do ‘physical culture’ every day. It works out my whole body and keeps me supple.

“Some people when they reach 80 years old, start playing cards and they stay immobile. Not me. I’ve never been able to keep still…”

He said that a big factor in his health is that he has looked after himself during his life. “I’ve never abused anything,” he explained. “I don’t smoke, I never drank much. The only thing I did in excess was work. I retired at 89 years old!”

He celebrated his retirement with another unique feat; riding and completing the Bordeaux-Paris event, and covering the 600 kilometres there in 36 hours.

Marchand lives alone, takes care of himself, still drives a car and continues to train. He will be 101 in November.

His hour record came after he returned to the track for the first time in eighty years. He last rode on the velodrome as a teenager, and before World War II.

His extraordinary physical shape has captivated the attention of many, not least a group of scientists at the Inserm public research institute. They study him every three months, and verify he is in great shape.

“They told me I had the constitution of a 55-year-old man, they think it's genetic,” he told Reuters. he said. “I have never deprived myself of anything: not wine, not food, not women, but always with moderation.”

Hour record footage:

100th birthday footage and interviews (in French):


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