Cyclist Born in 1911 Sets World Record

[Sports ★★★]


(P1) A French cyclist has set a new record for riding 14 miles in one hour. If that doesn’t sound so remarkable, the world record is 33.8 miles, consider the category in which Robert Marchand was competing: over 105. The retired firefighter did it the first time riding in under one hour in the over-100 category in 2012, then topped it two years later at age 102, the Guardian reports. He also holds the 100-plus record for fastest 100km (4 hours, 17 minutes). He turned 105 a few months ago and competed Wednesday in the new category created just for him. Marchand circled the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome near Paris 92 times with a crowd cheering him on.

(P2) Afterward, he was modest about his feat, telling BFMTV via the BBC that he “could have done better” but missed a sign telling him he had 10 minutes to go. He adds, “My legs didn’t hurt … My arms hurt, but that’s because of rheumatism.” Marchand, who cycles daily and once biked from Paris to Moscow, tells the AP he’s “now waiting for a rival.” Chips in his physiologist: “He could have been faster but he made a big mistake. He has stopped eating meat over the past month after being shocked by recent reports on how animals are subjected to cruel treatment.”

WORDS: 218


VOCABULARY: remarkable, velodrome, modest, feat, rheumatism, rival, chips in


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. In your opinion, why do you think the cyclist was able to set a new record in cycling?
  3. If you were over 100 years old, do you think you could accomplish the same thing Mr. Marchand did? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think the elderly should be encouraged to exercise more? Why or why not?


  1. When Mr. Marchand was working, he used to be a ______________.
  2. How many times did the cyclist go around the bicycle track in France?
  3. What disease affects Mr. Marchand?
  4. In the past, Mr. Marchland cycled from __________ to ____________.
  5. Why did Mr. Marchand quit eating meat?


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • the first time riding in under one hour (P1)
  • then topped it two years later (P1)
  • cheering him on (P1)
  • subjected to cruel treatment (P2)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by AP Photo/Thibault Camus

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