Marcel Eve: The Inspirational Octogenarian Cyclist Dominating World Championships

2023-07-25 16:20:22

After 70 km out, Marcel Eve sets foot on the ground and takes off his helmet. This cyclist, who will turn 83 in a few months, trains four times a week on the roads of the Pyrénées-Orientales. “We go out in pairs or threes. Alone, we tend to take things easy, while several of us struggle! », he slips into a smile. And a few hours later, he sits in front of his television to watch the Tour de France. “I watched the men’s and now the women’s. They have a lot of courage! », he comments. This grandfather of five grandchildren knows what he is talking about. He is a leader in his sport.

“Hearing the Marseillaise is something”

Marcel Eve, who lives in Canohès in the Pyrénées-Orientales, won the veteran category road time trial world championships in 2010 and 2014. He broke the world track hour record for the over 75s in 2015. “I have about fifty trophies on display in my hallway. The others, I couldn’t store them so I threw them away”, he admits. His collection could well expand further since the octogenarian will once again participate in the world road championships on August 7, 2023. He will have to be the fastest in a 22.8 km time trial. “Registration closes July 30. I won’t know the running order until the next day. »

And the member of the Canohès Avenir Cycliste 66 has only one thing in mind: “I’m going there to win, otherwise I wouldn’t go! » He dreams of getting on the top step of the podium once again. “Hearing the Marseillaise is something! It gives chills! » His family and club members will not be able to accompany him to Scotland. “I don’t speak English and I don’t know how to drive on the left…” The cheerful sportsman received unexpected help. “A journalist from France 3 offered to come with me! » He will serve as his guide and driver. He has already devoted a report to him a few days ago broadcast on France 3 Occitania .

“When I was a child, I dreamed of being a cyclist”

If Marcel Eve is a brilliant cyclist, he was slow to find his passion. “When I was a child, I dreamed of being a professional cyclist. But, we were a large family and we had to work on the farm. There was a bike for seven. We didn’t have time for sports. We were already walking several kilometers a day”, remembers the sportsman born in Montgardon (Manche). He didn’t learn to ride a bike when he was young. “I never had a sport, yet I was the best in military service! » Then when he joined the Republican Guard, he was chosen in the cross-country team and won many competitions including several French championships. “I have been running for 35 years. »

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One day, he is offered a bike ride. “I was lent an old one”, he recalls. With the Millas amateur club, he tackles the Col de Pailhères. A big first for him. “I let go of all the athletes! However, I had broken two spokes and I punctured. Time to fix my wheel, they still hadn’t arrived. » The other cyclists can’t believe it and push him to continue in this sport. Marcel Eve is already 60 years old. “I bought myself a bike and ten years later I won my first world championships! »

No diet or medicine

To keep this form, Marcel Eve swears not to follow “no diet” et “do not take any medicine”. Every day, he even gives himself a “little glass of wine at the table”. He goes to “once a year to the doctor” to do a little check-up. “I eat normally and balanced. I live normally! I take advantage of everything without excess. »

As the championships approach, Marcel Eve has not increased his training pace or changed his eating habits. The only precaution he never forgets before getting on his bike: “I need to warm up for 45 minutes”. The double world champion on the road then plans to tackle the world record for the hour for the over 85s. “I still have to last two years”he jokes.

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