eBay finds: Classic retro cycling jerseys from the 1990s
If you're a 1990s cycling aficionado or a hipster who wants to disguise the unbearable truth that you discovered the sport in 2012 – we have a treat for you
Back in 1990s cycling kits were, shall we say, more liberal when it came to designs. It was a time before bland colour blocks of red, black and more black. Instead, cycling jerseys and bib shorts were designed to be bold and colourful.
Some, were in truth unmitigated disasters – although there’s beauty in these too – and while many of the 1990s cult kits appear to have been designed under some form of duress, the decade as a whole threw up some of the most iconic jerseys of all time. We have taken a browse through eBay to find some crackers.
The Dutch squad ran for close to a decade and was famous for its logo and colour combinations. In later years they went for a silver and black jersey that shouldn't have worked - but somehow did - however, the most memorable editions came in the mid-1990s. At some point during the decade, they even managed to sneak in some green - probably around the time they were racing on matching Gazelle bikes – but this version from 1993 is a worthy piece of nostalgia. Think Jesper Skibby, Bo Hamburger, and Bart Voskamp.
Before CCC, BMC and Phonak the American team boss Jim Ochowicz was steering the ship at Motorola. The team ran for six years and boasted a road world champion in Lance Armstrong, Phil Anderson, Steve Bauer, Gordon Fraser, Andy Hampsten, and a young Axel Merckx.
They rode steel Eddy Merckx road bikes, and although they dressed in a rather corporate-looking jersey the look was complimented with black shorts and Motorola written in white on the side panels. Given how garish the USA soccer team's kit was from the 1994 World Cup, Ochowicz did a decent number with the cycling kit. It wasn't the 7-Eleven jersey but few would ever get close.
We were originally looking for the AKI kit, and then the Refin jersey but neither could be found so we’ve plumbed for the Roslotto ZG jersey from the mid-1990s. The team only ran for two years and rode Fondriest bikes in 1996 before closing out with Bianchi road bikes a season later, when Fondriest moved to Cofidis with his frames in tow. Roslotto's rosters were always a combination of Russians, veteran Italians, and young bucks like Paolo Salvoldelli.
The chat at dinner must have been non-existent. Still, they also had Alexie Sivakov, who as you probably know has a son racing in Ineos kit these days. They also had Piotr Urgumov, who despite the appearance of a man in his 50s and who slept in his car, was still a formidable Grand Tour rider. Oh the kit, you ask. It was actually pretty good although the sleeves were a little busy with the logo running over two colours. This particular little number comes from 1997.
Roger Legay’s team were a mainstay of 1990s with squads running from 1993 until 1998, before Credit Agricole took over mid-season. The French squad had an eclectic vision when it came to signing riders with Legay picking up Greg LeMond when the American was past his peak and then supplementing the team with a gaggle of English speakers like Chris Broadman and Australians Henk Vogels, Stuart O’Grady and Scott Sunderland. They had some robust French talent too, with Gilbert Duclos- Lassalle and Cedric Vasseur two of their most recognisable names. It was rare for a team to wear so much white back then but the French team pulled it off. The Gan logo was visible, while the soft yellow and blue made the jersey an instant classic.
When MG folded at the end of 1997 Michele Bartoli needed a team to support his Classics ambitions. The Asics team only stuck around for two years between 1997 and 1998 and with all respect to the rosters at the time Bartoli was their only true star. They managed to squeeze out another year from Claudio Chiappucci in their first season, and Enrico Zaina finished second in the Giro the year before he arrived, but other than Bartoli the team was basically a launchpad for Ivan Basso and Paolo Bettini, who later fell out with Bartoli and usurped him as Italy’s leading one-day. But think of Asics and you instantly imagine Bartoli skipping away from the group of leading contenders, catching and dropping Evegini Berzin like a stone and sealing his second Liege-Bastogne-Liege in as many years. It wasn't Bartoli at his peak when he dismantled the entire might of ONCE to win the race but it was impressive nonetheless.
If someone suggested putting fields of rice on the front of a team’s cycling jersey in this day and age they’d be escorted from the building. Frankly, you’d be worried about their well-being. Nothing on this jersey looks right – from the scattered logos on the sleeves – if only they hadn’t used up so much room for crops – to the dark blue background on the chest that acts as a rather gloomy skyline. How the team arrived at such a look after wearing the iconic Gewiss colours is a crime in itself. I mean, seriously, how could you let Vladislav Bobrik close out a glittering career in such a monstrosity.
If there’s anything less appealing than the thought of Vladislav Bobrik endlessly eating rice while making eye contact with you then it’s probably the idea of Richard Virenque popping round to do the vacuuming. Polti were main sponsors from 1994 until 2000 and had various versions of design during that period. The yellow and green were ever-present but in later years the stripe and fade were replaced with blocks of colour. They basically made it worse with each passing year before hitting rock bottom when Virenque joined. However, Gianluigi Stanga’s early teams included Djamolidine Abduzhaparov, Gianni Bugno, Ivan Gotti, and Sergeui Outschakov. By 2000s they’d kept that eclectic nature but many of the icons had left.
Kelme Costa Blanca
Kelme were involved in cycling for a period spanning three decades, with this version of their kit from 1999. Their green, blue and white livery was as famous as ONCE yellow or Banesto blue, white and red, although the Kelme squad were often seen as the weaker of the Spanish outfits. Their earlier designs were cleaner - an awful lot is going on with this version – but it remains a piece of art in itself. The blue Gios bikes were always stunning on the eye.
The 1996 and 1997 versions of the jersey toned down on the blue from previous years and included a larger white section but it kept in theme with the Festina kit that ran through the decade. In 1996 and 1997 the French team were at their peak with Virenque, Laurent Dufaux, and the mullet loving, double denim wearing Laurent Brochard. The kit changed in 1999 and again in 2000 before the team decided to close their doors.
All you really need to know is that Oscar Freire rode for them before winning the world championships in 1999 and moving straight to Mapei – a team and kit too obvious it's not included. The Vitalicio team only hung around for three years, before folding in 2000.
The Gatorade kit was and is a huge underappreciated jersey that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s. The team later changed to Polti under Stanga’s management, with one of the riders at Gatorade – Emanuele Bombini - later running the Gewiss squad.
As well as the late Laurent Fignon the team were also home to Gianni Bugno who rode for Stanga since the late 1980s. The Italian would win two world titles on the road in 1990 and 1991 which meant he rode in rainbow stripes for much of that period. This jersey is nevertheless signed by the Italian rider and as well as being a historical piece of kit would genuinely look the part on anyone’s wall.
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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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.