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Robert Marchand, 105, recognised as the world’s oldest competitive cyclist

Joseph Delves
4 May 2017

Frenchman adds accolade to his existing age-group Hour Record

Until this year Robert Marchand’s best result was a seventh place at the Grand Prix des Nations time trial achieved at the age of 35. A commendable result, but one that few would have thought was an indication that the rider would go on to smash the Hour Record.

Still years of practice paid off when, 71 years later he set a new time while cycling in the over-105 age group.

In front of a cheering crowd and TV cameras he covered 22.547 kilometres in one hour at the Vélodrome National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France this January.

With the UCI having formerly created a 'masters aged 100 and over' category specifically for the rider, his latest achievement has also seen him enter the record books for a second time, as the world’s oldest competitive cyclist.

Born in 1911, as an infant Marchand survived the First World War, the front line of which ran past his home in Amiens. He spent the 1930s in Paris working as a firefighter.

A lifelong communist and member of the CGT Trade Union, he took part in the the strikes of 1936, before being taken prisoner during the Second World War.

The following years saw him travel the world, finding work as a planter in Venezuela and a lumberjack in Canada, before finally returning to France.

Despite his age the rider still sees room for improvement on his performance.

'I didn't see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left,' he commented following his ride.

'Otherwise I would have gone faster. I would have posted a better time. Now I'm waiting for a rival.'

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