It's become the symbol of receiving a yellow jersey on the podium at the Tour de France, and is almost as famous and talked about as the maillot jaune: it's jersey-sponsor Crédit Lyonnais' cuddly lion, and we've found some for sale on eBay.
The one for sale here – at an eye-watering US$224.99 (£175) – seems to have made its way all the way to California, although the seller also has a slightly cheaper one available – but without a jersey on. They're apparently both 13 inches (33cm) tall, and so the seller admits they aren't the same as the bigger ones given to the riders on the podium, but still, it doesn't get much better for the cycling fan who has everything.
French eBay – eBay.fr – in particular looks as though it's the place to go for more lions, and they tend to be a little cheaper there, too.
According to an article about the lions on Outside.com in 2014, French sports newspaper L'Equipe says that the cuddly toys were introduced to the podium of the race in 1987, which was the year that Ireland's Stephen Roche won the Tour.
At some point around 2010, Crédit Lyonnais apparently considered not using the lions anymore, but they eventually saw sense, and the cuddly toys – in French, the 'Lyon' of Lyonnais is pronounced the same as the French word for lion, which is lion – appear to be here to stay.
We have yet to find a 'full-sized' lion for sale – like those given out on the podium – but then, really, who's ever going to sell one of those?
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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