Forget selfies or signed photos; what we've found here are some signed Tour de France bib numbers from 2017 and 2008, signed by Ineos Grenadiers' four-time Tour winner Chris Froome and French crowd favourite, Thomas Voeckler, respectively.
The French term, dossard, sounds so much more poetic than its equivalent in English, we think you'll agree. 'Bib number' sounds like the counting method you use when you have a messy baby.
No matter – these dossards come from two recent Tours, and two hugely popular riders, with Froome's '1' worn to his fourth victory at La Grande Boucle in 2017, while Voeckler – hugely popular thanks to his gurning, talking to himself, shouting and 'spectator-interaction' – finished 94th overall in Paris in 2008, riding for Bouygues Telecom that year.
In the past decade or so, rider bib numbers have become daily, disposable stick-on affairs, although some riders still enjoy the extra security of some traditional safety pins, as there's nothing more annoying – or un-aerodynamic – than a flapping bib number.
In fact, for the 2017 dossards – like Froome's shown here – the Tour worked with adhesive specialist Bostik to develop new, lighter and stickier numbers that would adhere better to modern-day lightweight jersey fabrics, and which would provide greater resistence to wind, rain and sweat.
"The new race numbers stick better," said now-retired AG2R La Mondiale rider Samuel Dumoulin in a Bostik press release at the time. "Before, the corners often came unstuck near the pocket where we keep our refreshments. They used to roll up with the wind and sweat and would no longer stick, which doesn't happen anymore.
"Because they were quite thick, our body temperature was always higher on that part of our backs. But the new numbers are really thin, making it easier for riders to regulate body temperature. Also, before, we needed around a dozen pins, but now we use just three, and I think that's only out of habit. Soon we probably won't use any at all," Dumoulin said.
In recent years, a number of pro teams – including Movistar – have experimented with skinsuits in time trials with the bib number encased in a see-through pouch at the back to eliminate any flapping or pinning, which is an innovation that will surely only become more commonplace.
The same Seattle, USA-based seller has both the signed bib numbers featured here for sale, and they don't come that cheap – but then, why should they? The asking price for each is $125 (£94), and the same seller would probably be a good bet to acquire more signed dossards in the future, too, if that is – or might become – your thing. Selfies are by now, surely, so 2019.
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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