Cycling: Robert Marchand, world record holder retires at the age of 106

Featured Cycling: Robert Marchand, world record holder retires at the age of 106

The world's oldest competitive cyclist, Robert Marchand, has decided to retire - at the age of 106.

Since he turned 100, the Frenchman has been setting new records for his age group on the velodrome. In February 2012 he set the mark for the one-hour record at 24.250km and improved on that two years later with 26.927km - a time that fit 20-year-old non-cyclists would struggle to better.

Between those two efforts, he rode 300 laps of the Parc de la Tete d'Or Velodrome in Paris in four hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds - equivalent to 100km.

To maintain his fitness, Marchand stretches and does resistance exercises each day plus rides his indoor traine. He credits his longevity to a diet that contains a lot of fruit and vegetables, a small amount of meat, "not too much coffee", "no cigarettes" and "very little alcohol" - and sport.

Born in 1911, Marchand began cycling at 14 years of age. He later lived lived in Canada and Venezuela and worked as a fireman, market gardener, show salesman and wine dealer, and competed as an amateur boxer.

 He started cycling again in 1978 at 67 years of age, building up the distances and training with much younger riders.

At the age of 89 he retired from work and trained to ride in the famous Bordeaux-Paris ultra-distance event, covering the 600 kilometres in 36 hours.

AFP quotes his friend and neighbour Christian Bouchard saying that he will no longer be pushing himself to set records.

"His doctors no longer want him to make great efforts," he said on Tuesday.

Now Marchand will just cycle for pleasure.

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