Available on eBay here is an absolute beauty: a superb replica of Spanish superstar Luis Ocaña's 1973 Tour de France-winning bike, complete with Campagnolo Record groupset and a Motobecane paintjob covering a genuine Gemini frame.
On the occasion of stage 4 of this year's Tour de France to its summit finish on Orcières-Merlette, Cyclingnews re-told the story of the 1971 Tour, at which Spain's Luis Ocaña went on the offensive on that year's stage to the same climb, putting Eddy Merckx in trouble and taking the race lead – although 'The Cannibal' bounced back to win that year's Tour by 9:51 from Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk after Ocaña crashed out of the race, while wearing the yellow jersey, on the wet descent of the Col de Menté.
We highly recommend the read – of course – but it also serves to show the determination of the Spanish rider to outpace the Belgian. The following year – 1972 – was billed as the grand rematch between Merckx and Ocaña, but Ocaña crashed again, and eventually quit with a chest infection, leaving the way clear for Merckx to take his fourth Tour victory.
Finally – in 1973 – everything went Ocaña's way, although it was a shame that it was without the presence of Merckx, who skipped that year's Tour to target, and win, both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España. Our thanks to regular Cyclingnews reader Patrick for alerting us to this fantastic replica of Ocaña's 1973-Tour-winning Motobecane – which was, in reality underneath, a Henri Depierre-built Gemini, and which this replica also is, sticking rigidly to its replica moniker.
While the seller points out that the other members of that year's BIC team were all on genuine Motobecane bikes built with Reynolds 531 tubing, Ocaña and another member of the squad were on Gemini frames, built in Paris by Depierre from Columbus SL tubing.
It's a beautiful, period-correct bike, although the pictures perhaps don't quite do it what would be its fully built-up justice, as the seller was hoping to have the chainrings and brake levers drilled out – just like Ocaña and many of the riders of the time did, to save weight.
Read the detailed post here with a wealth of information about the restoration process and build, about Luis Ocaña's career, and about the Gemini bicycle brand.
The 1974 Tour should really, finally, have been the Tour match-up to end all Tour matches, but as these things have wont to do, it was Ocaña who was missing to try to defend his title this time, having crashed at the Midi-Libre earlier in the season, and Merckx won his fifth Tour virtually unopposed once more, with France's Raymond Poulidor finishing second, over eight minutes down.
It would turn out that Ocaña would never trouble the top 10 at the Tour again, riding his last Tour in 1977, when he finished 25th, while Merckx finished second behind Thévenet in 1975 after getting punched in the kidneys by a spectator on the Puy de Dôme, and so 1974 proved to be his fifth and final Tour win.
The asking price is €2,500 (£2,270 / US$2,940) for the complete bike, with the seller based in Lyon, France, but prepared to ship it to wherever you are.
It's a beautiful piece of restored history, remembering the technology of the time, and the racing ability of a special rider in Ocaña, who sadly committed suicide in 1994, at the age of 48.
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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