This Le Coq Sportif-made red jersey – awarded to the winner of the now defunct intermediate sprints classification at the Tour de France – is from the 1984 edition of the race, and about as good as eBay Finds get for collectors of rare vintage jerseys.
A red jersey was awarded between 1984 and 1989 at the Tour de France for the rider who amassed the most points at the intermediate, or 'hot-spot' (points chauds in French), sprints – i.e. not for points at stage finishes, for which the green jersey has been awarded since 1953.
Today, points won at the intermediate sprints only count towards the green jersey; the red jersey was done away with after the 1989 Tour, having only been awarded for six years, but the classification in fact ran from back in 1966, with Italy's Guido Neri crowned as the first winner.
Ireland's Sean Kelly holds the record for winning the classification the most times, with three wins, but until he won for the first time in 1982 – and then again in 1983 and 1989 – there had only been one winner that wasn't from Italy, Belgium or France, and that was Britain's Barry Hoban, in 1974.
Despite winning the competition three times, it would seem that Kelly only got to actually wear the red jersey temporarily in 1985 – a year when he wouldn't actually win the classification, which went to Belgium's Jozef Lieckens. At the 1989 Tour, when Kelly took it over from Histor-Sigma's Danish breakaway specialist Søren Lilholt on stage 11 – and held it all the way to Paris – he was already in the green jersey, which he won for the fourth and final time that year.
As for actually winning the red jersey outright during its existence between 1984 and 1989, Kelly stands on equal wins with five other winners – Jacques Hanegraaf (1984), Lieckens (1985), Gerrit Solleveld (1986), Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle (1987) and Frans Maassen (1988) – all with one win apiece.
The red jersey is fondly remembered as yet another 'race within the race' at the Tour, and is nearly missed as much the 'combination jersey' – the multi-coloured, love-it-or-hate-it jersey that was awarded to the most consistent rider in the points, climber's and leader's classifications combined, and which was also unceremoniously dumped from existence after the 1989 Tour as a result of new race director Jean-Marie Leblanc's desire to shorten the then admittedly very lengthy jersey-awarding protocol.
French cycling-clothing brand Le Coq Sportif was the manufacturer of the red jersey from its inception in 1984 – like the example here – until 1988. Castelli then took over as the manufacturer for the intermediate sprint jersey's final year of existence in 1989.
Le Coq Sportif returned as the supplier of the Tour's leaders' jerseys in 2012, and have been the supplier of the yellow, green, polka-dot and white jerseys ever since. It would surely be a popular decision to see the return of the red or combined jersey at the Tour one day, if only temporarily. In the meantime, there's always our eBay Finds series.
The Switzerland-based seller of the jersey points out that it has a small hole on the back – which is no great surprise given its age – and they're looking for US$260 (£208) for it, and will ship it to most places around the world. Check the listing for measurements for sizing, although it may be better preserved mounted on a wall than worn.
We're constantly on the lookout for unique and rare cycling relics on eBay. If you have any suggestions or leads, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'eBay Finds' in the subject line.
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