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Centenarian cycling record holder dies aged 109

Speaking a few years before his death, he said the secret to his long life was to 'Use everything and abuse nothing.'...

A 109-year-old French cyclist who broke world cycling records for centenarians and rode his first bike race more than 90 years ago under a false name because he was too young to enter, has sadly died. 

Robert Marchand, died on Friday night in a retirement home in Mitry-Mory.

Mr Marchand, an amateur cyclist who stood just five feet tall and weighed 115 pounds, held the world record for cycling 100 km (62 miles) in the 100–105 and over-105 categories.

He also held the world records for the distance cycled in one hour in both categories.

> Robert Marchand celebrates 107th birthday – with 20km spin

"Rest in peace my friend and thank you for all the dreams you lived!" The mayor of Mitry-Mory Charlotte Blandiot-Faride wrote on Facebook.

Reuters report that in 2018 when asked what the secret of his longevity was, he said: "Use everything and abuse nothing."

A year earlier, Mr Marchand – who rode his first bike race more than 90 years ago under a false name because he was too young to enter – set a 105+ age group Hour Record created specially for him by the UCI, riding 22.547 kilometres.

In 2012 he won his age group record for the 100km cycle, finishing 300 laps of a velodrome in Lyon, southeast France, in 4 hours, 17 minutes, 27 seconds, averaging 23.305 km/h.

Speaking after that astonishing achievement, his friend, Gerard Mistler, described him as 'an example for humanity' who 'gives people hope'.

During an interview a few years ago Mistler said that Mr Marchand never pushed his limits, went to bed at 9 p.m. and woke up at 6 a.m.

To stay fit, he rode every day on his home trainer and went out on outdoor training sessions on the road when the weather was good enough.

He did not watch much TV - apart from the Tour de France.

Mr Marchand led a remarkable life even before his incredible cycling achievements in his later years.

He was a gym instructor for the Paris fire brigade in the 1930s and a prisoner-of-war during World War II.

He then moved to Venezuela, where he was a lorry driver and sugarcane planter before heading to Canada to work as a lumberjack.

After setting his latest world record on the boards of the Vélodrome National near Paris in 2017 he  had just one message for people watching: “I’m now waiting for a rival.”

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