102 Year Old Robert Marchand Breaks Hour Record

Friday, 31 January 2014

Set aside your Chris Horner jokes and say bonjour to Robert Marchand who at 102 years old has just done an hour record attempt and set a new personal best distance of 26.925 kilometres, pulverising his old record of 24km.

Marchand’s become a minor celebrity in France for this, appearing on TV and news bulletins throughout the day (way more coverage than, say FDJ’s Kenny Elissonde got for winning the Angliru stage of the Vuelta).

But as much as this hour record is providing him with plenty more than the 15 minute quota of fame, he’s talking it all in his stride and seems amused at times embarrassed by the media attention. It’s obviously a notable event but this is no stunt for TV. He’s a racer and started out so young he had to lie about his age in order to ride his first race. To this day he’s a regular cyclist and an hour is no problem, he rides long distance cyclosportifs in the summer, notably the Ardéchoise ride whose organiser Gérard Mistler is the man with the wizard look you often see standing nearby. In 2011 he got run over by a truck and had to skip some rides but his comeback is proving successful although he now tries to limit his maximum daily distance to 100km.

It’s not the first record attempt. Marchand visited the UCI velodrome in Switzerland two years ago and racked up 24.251km aged 100. It all started when he was riding his bike on an indoor trainer and wanted to see how far he could go on his 100th birthday. Many twentysomethings struggle to endure an hour on the indoor trainer. And that’s the point, his activity and vitality is remarkable and it’s why so many are celebrating him.

We’ll see if Fabian Cancellara can rise to the occasion later this year. Yes Marchand’s ride is entertaining but it is also official as Marchand’s ride should be ratified as a world record… for the “Masters 100+” category. To underline the formal record attempt he climbed off the bike to find officials from the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage, France’s anti-doping agency, waiting for him.

Chapeau!

Adi Gaskell January 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Outstanding. Good on him. Oh to still be willing and able to enjoy this great sport at such a ripe old age.

German Ospina January 31, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Is Viagra in the list of banned substances?

Cd February 1, 2014 at 3:36 am

No but Flowmax is.

Jan January 31, 2014 at 8:51 pm

I’m happy to read this. I mean, my hero bikes in her late 70s, and he beats her by a quarter century, almost. It’s great that someone’s enjoying their bike and living the life!

Qwerty January 31, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Good for him, what a great story. The next time I complain about aching legs I will think of him!

Chris February 1, 2014 at 12:22 am

I’m half his age and twice as lazy! Chapeau

channel_zero February 1, 2014 at 12:59 am
Alex Simmons February 1, 2014 at 2:29 am

That’s cool.

There are UCI regulations on how hour records are conducted for age group “masters” riders, and dope testing (for what it’s worth) is a requirement for a record to be certified. It’s quite an expensive undertaking to have all the requirements met.

It’s fun to coach people for these things. I am working with a 75+ year old at the moment who is looking to do the same. I can only hope I’m still rolling around at that age!

The “official” age groups records can be found here:
http://www.uci.ch/templates/UCI/UCI1/layout.asp?MenuId=MTI2NTQ&LangId=1

Paddy February 1, 2014 at 9:02 am

A truly amazing man. He’s 58 years older than me, I have to push hard to average 27kph. It will be sometime before that is broken, if ever.

Ankush February 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

Marchand is an absolute legend. An inspirational character.

Steve Potts February 1, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I hear he tested positive for Werther’s Originals….

Chapeau to him – 27km an hour at that age is a fantastic ride. Has he signed with Baden Cooke yet?

mike February 2, 2014 at 3:58 am

What he said!

mike February 2, 2014 at 3:58 am

Froogle_jimmy February 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Wow, I dont think I have ever averaged 27km/hour on a ride and Im 69 years younger than him. Congrats to him. This record could be one of those unbreakable records, unless he beats it himself. I just hope I can walk to the fridge when Im 102 years old

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