• Only as young as you feel... Robert Marchand. (Getty)Source: Getty
Personal trainers, 5:2 diets, CrossFit, quinoa and kale, wellness retreats... If you ask the latest hour record holder, it's really not that complicated, writes Anthony Tan.
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Cycling Central
7 Jan 2017 - 6:26 AM 

Did Cadel Evans winning the 2011 Tour de France inspire you?

Or are you more of a Classics aficionado, where you revelled in Mathew Hayman's mastery of Paris-Roubaix last year?

Or how about the way Jack Bobridge, battling rheumatoid arthritis for most of his professional career, still managed to achieve so much including two of the best rides you'll ever see in Buninyong, where he became national road champion in 2011 and 2016?

"You must always train your muscles. Because if you don't, they will become lazy."

They're all good. Much, much better than good, in fact. But when I heard a 105-year-old geezer had broken the hour record (for those 105 years or older, it must be noted) at France's Velodrome National on Wednesday, to me, that was something special.

Robert Marchand sets new hour record aged 105
A French centenarian, Robert Marchand, made cycling history on Wednesday by covering 22.528 km in one hour on a track near Paris at the age of 105.

Okay, with advances in modern medicine, centenarians are a dime a dozen nowadays. Hell, I might even make it, even though I probably won't want to. Still, I have another fifty seven years to think about making that milestone.

Thing is, though, Robert Marchand doesn't appear to subscribe to modern medicine.

On a pension of 900 Euro (A$1300) a month, even if he were to fall ill, he could barely afford it, anyway.

His medicine is the bike.

Weighing 52 kilos and 152 centimetres tall, the diminutive Marchand, according to his coach and friend Gerard Mistler, also eats plenty of fruit and vegetables, doesn't smoke, has the occasional glass of wine, and goes to bed at 9pm and wakes at 6am every day.

"If he had been doping," Mistler says, "he would not be there anymore."

Even a dyed in the wool cynic like me didn't think Monsieur Marchand was doing anything like that!

22.547 kilometres he rode. Wiggins, the current hour record holder, managed 54.526km.

Wiggins, now 36 years old and calling time on his career last month after a rather ignominious farewell, was born in 1980.

Marchand, 105 years young, was born in 1911.

A former firefighter, truck driver and lumberjack, he only took up cycling again when he was 68. Bordeaux to Paris, Paris to Roubaix, Moscow to Paris, setting the record for someone over 100 riding 100km, the 100-year-old-plus hour record, and now this... Goal-setting is in his DNA.

After breaking the hour record for the 105-plus age category - not that there was a category before Robert decided to attempt it (nor perhaps another 105-year-old cyclist) - Marchand did not immediately reveal any further plans.

"No, I'm not tired. I thought my legs would hurt but they don't," he remarked after his effort Wednesday. Though he said his arms ached.

"When you're old like me, you never stop for too long. If you stop for too long, you never get going again. So, every morning, you must do something... maybe (ride) four or five kilometres. You must always train your muscles. Because if you don't, they will become lazy."

A healthy lifestyle. Continuous goal-setting. A disciplined approach. Exercise. Often.

Not so difficult, really. "If the president of his teenage club who told him he was not made for cycling because he was too small could see him today, he would kick himself," said Mistler.

He's probably not around anymore, anyway. Chapeau, Robert!