In something of a 'before they were famous' moment, Cadel Evans won the 'king of the mountains' competition at the 2003 Tour Down Under, and we've found this signed-by-him example of that year's climber's jersey as part of our eBay Finds series – a rare garment that will surely appeal to fans of the rider who would later go on to become Australia's first Tour de France winner in 2011.
Evans rode his last Tour Down Under in January 2015, just ahead of his last race before retirement on February 1 – the eponymous Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, which today is part of the WorldTour circuit, and which falls in the middle of Australia's 'summer of cycling' each year, following the national championships and the Tour Down Under, and ahead of the Herald Sun Tour.
The 2003 Tour Down Under was the fifth edition of the Australian stage race, and was won overall by Spain's Mikel Astarloza. Evans finished 10th overall, but secured the Laubman & Pank optometrist-sponsored climber's prize ahead of CSC's Lennie Kristensen and Ceramiche Panaria's Paolo Lanfranchi.
Evans was in his first year with the Telekom team in 2003, having joined that season from Mapei-QuickStep. Telekom would become T-Mobile in 2004, and Evans would stay with the German squad that year before moving on to Davitamon-Lotto in 2005.
Evans' career truly stepped up a notch when he finished second to Alberto Contador at the 2007 Tour de France, and second again the following year, this time to Carlos Sastre.
In 2009, he became Australia's first road race world champion, but he had to wait until 2011 – at the ripe old age of 34 – to finally stand on the top step at the Tour de France, beating Luxembourg's Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank, that year.
The Australia-based seller says that they bought the jersey at a local cycling club charity evening more than 15 years ago, and they're asking AU$1,500 (£798) for it, framed, while admitting that the frame has seen better days, and that the purchaser may wish to reframe it.
They also suggest that this is rarer than a signed 2011 Tour maillot jaune, and the hipster in us can only agree.
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 email@example.com with 'eBay Finds' in the subject line
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