It’s been nearly 100 years since French cyclist Robert Marchand decided to ignore the advice of a coach who told him to give up the sport because he would never achieve anything on a bike.
On Wednesday, he proved the coach wrong – again – and showed that age is just a number, even if that number is 105.
In a skin-tight yellow and violet jersey, the Frenchman set a world record in the 105-plus age category – created especially for the tireless veteran – by riding 22.547 kilometers (14.01 miles) in one hour.
Marchard, a former Paris firefighter, started cycling as a teen, but was considered too small to make it in the sport. At the age of 67, he picked up the bike again and has not looked back.
At the age 100, the International Cycling Union created a new over-100s category for Marchand. Three years ago, at the Velodrome National, he rode 26.927 kilometers (16.5 miles) in one hour to better his own record in the over-100s category.
Wednesday’s race was in the new over-105 category.
“I’m not here to break any record,” Marchard said before his ride, according to CyclingWeekly. “I’m doing it to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike.”
His doctor, Veronique Billat, told French newspaper Le Point: “He has the heart of a young man, capable of beating at 140 rounds per minute, whereas at his age 115 is a maximum.”
Marchand had ridden faster in the past on the boards of the Velodrome National. But he had warned before his latest attempt that his current form was not as good.