Cycling record holder Robert Marchand has died in France at the age of 109, France-3 television reported on 22 May.
According to him, Marchand died in a nursing home in the commune of Mitri-Mori, northeast of Paris. No cause of death has been reported.
Marchand survived two world wars, worked as a firefighter, farmer, lumberjack, shoe and wine seller.
From the age of 67, he began to participate in major races. In 1992, he made a bike ride from Paris to Moscow.
In 2017, at the Velodrome Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, he covered 22.5 km in one hour, in August of the same year he also won the title of 105-year-old world champion in cycling.
At the end of 2018, Marchand rode a bicycle 20 km from Privates to Le Puzen in the Alpine department of Ardèche, and then, at the insistence of doctors, stopped participating in the competition. In 2019, the French Cycling Federation banned Marchand from setting new records for fear of a possible deterioration in the veteran’s health.
As Marchand himself said, the main secret of his longevity lies in his love for sports and an indefatigable desire to enjoy life, as well as in quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and coffee, and eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. In November 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the champion even sent an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron urging him to resume sports.
According to a friend of the athlete, Gerard Mistler, people may not know the name of the last winner of the Tour de France, but they do know Robert Marchand, Le Parisien reports.