Three-time road race world champion Oscar Freire has signed this rare Vitalicio Seguros rainbow jersey that we've found among the many treasures on eBay.
The Spanish rider would have worn such a jersey only once after winning the 1999 World Championships, as he made a lucrative move to Mapei-QuickStep for the following season.
Freire endured back problems throughout his 15-year pro career, but was nevertheless able to win the Worlds road race three times – in 1999, 2001 and 2004 – and Milan-San Remo three times, as well as multiple stages of the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España on the way to what amounted to 70 victories, which were on the whole won from bunch sprints.
After winning his first World Championship in 1999 – riding for the Spanish national team while in his second season with Spanish trade team Vitalicio Seguros, where teammates that year included Juan Miguel Mercado and Miguel Indurain's brother Prudencio – Freire in fact only ever had one outing in a Nalini-branded Vitalicio Seguros jersey like this one when he rode to 16th place at the one-day Giro del Piemonte at the end of the season.
For the 2000 season, Freire made a big-money move to Mapei-QuickStep, which serves to make this jersey all the more rare and desirable. He had a decent season with his new team, which included winning two stages at both the Vuelta a España and Tirreno-Adriatico, and third place at Milan-San Remo, and he then took the bronze medal at the 2000 Worlds road race behind Latvia's Romans Vainsteins and Poland's Zbigniew Spruch.
Freire went on to win the Worlds road race again in 2001, and won the first of his four Tour de France stages in 2002.
For the following season, he moved on to Dutch outfit Rabobank, with whom he spent nine seasons from 2003 to 2011 and enjoyed the most successful period of his career, which included his first Milan-San Remo title in 2004, his third Worlds title later that year, two Tour stage victories in 2006 and a stage win and the green points jersey at the 2008.
He called time on his career in 2012 after a season with Katusha.
There are few details provided by the seller on the eBay listing, which is being sold from Texas in the US, other than that the jersey – priced at US$269 (£215) – is professionally mounted and framed.
But it looks fantastic, and serves to celebrate the career of one of the best one-day racers in the world – who proved it, literally, three times.
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