Five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault remains one of the most popular stars of late 1970s and 1980s pro cycling, and we've found this signed Renault team cap on eBay.
Bernard Hinault wasn't such an ardent wearer of a cap as, say, the next rider after the Frenchman to win five Tours de France, Spain's Miguel Indurain, who won from 1991-1995. When not clad in an aero helmet and skinsuit, Indurain seemed to enjoy wearing a casquette perched high atop his head, with so much luft that it looked as though it would come off in the wind at any moment.
We're going to stick our necks out and say that Hinault wore a cap roughly 40 per cent of the time; he often seemed to like going bare-headed, especially later in his career, while in the Renault years, he and teammate Laurent Fignon in fact often plumped for a headband.
Before the mid-2000s, professionals didn't have to wear helmets, although leather 'hairnet' crash-hats were required when racing in Belgium. The upside to that was that spectators and, perhaps even more importantly, commentators, could recognise the riders far more easily than today, and even when wearing a casquette, riders were infinitely more recognisable.
But numerous pictures are out there of Hinault wearing very similar caps to the one available here, and we'd put the design as being the same as the 1978 team cap, in the Renault-Gitane team's first year of existence – or, at least, its first year as Renault, with the car manufacturer having taken over lead sponsorship of the Gitane-Campagnolo team.
Later iterations of the cap appear to have been emblazoned with additional Elf or Gitane co-sponsors' logos, but 1978 was the year that Hinault won his first Tour de France, and he'd win again in 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985.
From the pictures, this cap at least appears to be a modern replica of the old team design, and the Manchester, UK-based seller has already sold five of their seven originally available caps, which they're asking £71.49 (US$89) apiece for. That means that only two remain, and that Hinault super-fans will need to act fast.
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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