We keep finding hidden gems on eBay – the latest of which is this Cannondale CAAD3 Saeco team-edition bike, as used during the 1997 season by the team's highly successful sprinter, and self-styled playboy, Mario Cipollini.
Cannondale made its name with its aluminium frames in the 1980s and 1990s, and the oversized-tubed 2.8 frame was its first foray into computer-aided design (CAD) to optimise the company's frames.
Cannondale then adopted the CAD name and adapted it to create its first CAAD (Cannondale Advanced Aluminium Design) frame in 1997: the CAAD3 – a fine example of which is for sale in this eBay listing.
Cipollini and his Cannondale-sponsored teammates went on to use further iterations of the bike company's CAAD frames, and the series continues with the current CAAD series – the CAAD13 and CAAD Optimo aluminium models – while the EF Pro Cycling WorldTour squad now mainly use the carbon SuperSix EVO and SystemSix frames.
Along with its popular aluminium designs, it was in large part thanks to the combination of Cipollini and the bike company's publicity stunts that really put Cannondale on the map in the 1990s. The Italian sprinter would turn up at races in special kits and costumes – who remembers the 'exposed muscles' skinsuit, and the Julius Caesar costume? – and he and his teammates would be fined by the UCI for not wearing their regulation kit, which was apparently well worth the outlay.
Another memorable Cannondale 'moment' came in 2004 – albeit after Cipollini had moved on to be part of the Specialized-supplied Domina Vacanze squad – when the likes of Saeco's Damiano Cunego and Gilberto Simoni wore special 'Legalize my Cannondale' black-and-white 'criminal' team kits at that year's Giro d'Italia to publicise the fact that Cannondale's new Six13 frame – which combined aluminium and carbon tubes – could be built up to weigh well below the UCI's minimum weight limit for bikes of 6.8kg.
This 1997 CAAD3 has been built up to look very similar to the bike Cipollini rode that season, although his sprinting prowess ensured that he rode special pink and yellow versions of the bike at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France that year while wearing the leaders' jerseys in both races.
Just like this example – which will set you back US$1,720 (£1,395) – all Cipollini's 1997 bikes that year had the later-banned four-spoke Spinergy wheels and Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, and this eBay bike also includes a period-correct special 100th anniversary (1897-1997) Selle Italia Century saddle and a Cinelli Alter stem, which could be adorned with Cinelli's special faceplates of pin-up girls – or sometimes Playboy Playmates in Cipo's case.
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