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Frenchman who entered first race 88 years ago rides 26.925km to beat previous distance by 10 per cent

102-year-old Robert Marchand has this afternoon smashed his own age group Hour record, riding 26.925km around France’s new national velodrome at Saint Quentin en Yvelines near Paris – 10 per cent further in distance than he managed when he set his previous best two years ago at the age of 100.

Marchand’s earlier record, for a category created especially for him by the UCI, was set at the governing body’s World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland in February 2012.

That day, he rode 24.251 kilometres, saying afterwards: “I just wanted to do something for my 100th birthday.”

Remarkably, that ride came 80 years after he had last taken to the boards of a velodrome, and 86 years after his first competitive race, which he had to enter under an assumed name due to his being below the age limit for entry.

He has ridden in every edition of the Ardéchoise sportive since it was launched in 1992, when he was aged 79, and has a mountain pass named after him, the Col Robert Marchand, which is at 911 metres above sea level – the cyclist himself was born in 1911.

An article published by Le Parisien this morning has three videos of Marchand – one in which, as he turned 100 in 2012, he spoke about his love of cycling and another that looks back on his life, while the third looks at his preparations for today’s record breaking ride.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

21 comments

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Celeste08 [38 posts] 3 years ago
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Wow! 10% further than when he was 100 y.o. Impressive.

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numbercruncher [28 posts] 3 years ago
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Good on him. Respect.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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Inspirational! Bravo!  41

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Grizzerly [364 posts] 3 years ago
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Great, Terrific, Amazing...
Bloody Brilliant!!

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mingmong [279 posts] 3 years ago
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Better with age. Well done sir!  41

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 3 years ago
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I hope I can just got on a bike when I'm 100. Pedaling will be optional

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Colin Peyresourde [1812 posts] 3 years ago
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Someone buy that man a carbon bike!

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lostinfrance [15 posts] 3 years ago
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Does he get tested ??? Just to play the devils advocate.

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Leviathan [2605 posts] 3 years ago
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Should have just beaten his record so he could come back next year and set another one, like pole vaulter Sergey Bubka.

A target for me in 2078 I suppose.

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Juan Unoze [2 posts] 3 years ago
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If that dosen"t deserve a rainbow jersey I don't know what does!

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billyman [148 posts] 3 years ago
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Hats off to you sir  16

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Simon_MacMichael [2492 posts] 3 years ago
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lostinfrance wrote:

Does he get tested ??? Just to play the devils advocate.

He had a pretty good comeback to the inevitable doping question a couple of years ago:

When asked if he planned to get any artificial help for his ride, Marchand insisted: "The only doping for me is water with a spoonful of honey that I put in my canteen - and that's it."

"If I was doping, though, maybe I could hit 35 km/h," he added.

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griggers [26 posts] 3 years ago
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Imagine how far he's gonna go when he's 105!

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fret [37 posts] 3 years ago
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Chapeau

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Quince [381 posts] 3 years ago
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A 10% increase in 2 years? Wow... at this rate, he'll be going 117 times faster by the time he's 200 - if my calculations are correct. Impressive guy.

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Kadenz [96 posts] 3 years ago
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An inspiration to us all. What an amazing guy!

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Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
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I would like to think that a sponsor would see this as an ideal opportunity to give this top bloke a modern bike, in exchange for a second attempt.

It would be interesting to see just how much of a difference the latest technology would make.

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allez neg [496 posts] 3 years ago
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Chapeau +1

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farrell [1946 posts] 3 years ago
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Ive heard Lampre Merida are looking at signing him up...

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OldRidgeback [2769 posts] 3 years ago
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Top dude, big respect. Wonder how many of us will be even able to get on a bike when we're 102?

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tourdelound [169 posts] 3 years ago
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OldRidgeback wrote:

Top dude, big respect. Wonder how many of us will be even able to get on a bike when we're 102?

Wonder how many of us will even reach 102?
Respect.  41