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Cycling: 102-year-old Frenchman Robert Marchand beats own world record

The cyclist seems to be improving with age

Most centenarians find it difficult to walk but age has not slowed down 102-year-old French cyclist Robert Marchand, who has broken his own world record.

Mr Marchand set the previous record for the over-100 category two years ago and outdid himself on Friday by riding almost 17 miles in an hour – 1.6 miles further.

Crowds at France’s new National Velodrome were on their feet as he crossed the finish line and he was mobbed by dozens of photographers who gathered to capture the historical feat.

Wearing a skin-tight bright yellow jersey and purple shorts, the athlete smiled and raised his arms after completing the gruelling ride, supported by two assistants.

“It was very good, but at the end it started to become very hard,” he told AFP.

Robert Marchand,102, with his assistants after crossing the finish line.

He  said he couldn't have done it without the public's support.

“You have to know there are people who came from 600 kilometers away to see me today! It is incredible. That's all I can say,” he added.

Mr Marchand, a retired firefighter and logger, also holds the record for someone over the age of 100 riding 62 miles (100km), which he completed in four hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds in 2012.

The current world record for the distance cycled in an hour is 31 miles, set by Ondrej Sosenka from the Czech Republic in 2005.

Additional reporting by AP