And they’re off! Thousands of cyclists are currently powering through the Ardéche region of France as part of the annual Ardéchoise, one of the world’s biggest cycling events.
The youngsters of the region kicked off the challenge yesterday in Saint-Félicien, setting off towards Pailharès where famous centenarian cyclist Robert Marchand was there to meet them.
Every year the question on everyone’s lips is – “where is Robert?” At 105, the former fireman has become a mascot of the event, having competed in it several times over the years.
He caused quite a stir as he met the 900-or-so young cyclists at the point in the course named after him, and posed for photos surrounded by hundreds of excited youngsters before joining them for a short ride.
Robert has achieved notoriety due to his age and the fact he has broken several world records.
Most recently, on January 4, 2017, he set a new world record in one-hour track cycling in the over-105 age group, covering 22.547 kilometres in an hour.
The Ardéchoise is made up of a collection of different rides, with the official race covering the 220km Ardéchoise course. Various one-day courses and multi-day options are available to choose from, making it an exceptionally inclusive event.