Frenchman Robert Marchand, who turned 100 a few months ago, has ridden 24.251km in
one hour around the World Cycling Centre velodrome in Aigle, Switzerland.
While this is no threat to the current UCI one hour world record of 49.7km held by Czech
OndřejSosenka (who was 70 years Marchand’s junior when he set the record in 2005), it is a
hallmark event that necessitated the UCI create a new category for 100 year-olds to
immortalize the achievement.
“But I‟m not playing at being a champion,” Marchand said. “I just wanted to do something for my
He rode a standard track bike with no aero equipment for his attempt, his biggest problem
being his familiarity with velodrome riding. “I haven‟t cycled on a track for 80 years,” he
said. “You have to get used to the fixed gear! I prefer cycling outside but that is impossible at the
moment. I don‟t want to catch the flu. So I am short on training.”
During his preparation, Marchand was warned not to get his heart rate above 110, a rule that
for the most part he obeyed. “I did climb a steep hill not long ago and went up to 134 but it‟s best to
avoid that,” he said. “But I would be very surprised if I had heart attack.
“For the last five years I have decided not to go for rides of more than 100km. There is no point going
overboard. I want to keep cycling for some time yet.”
So, to the question on everyone’s lips: what’s his secret? How does a guy cycle 24kms in one
hour at an age when most people are dead?
“I‟ve never abused anything. I don‟t smoke, I never drank much. The only thing I did in excess was
work. I retired at 89 years old!
“But basically, I am like everybody. I am lucky that I haven‟t had any major health problems. 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.”