Here's a great item found on eBay for the connoisseurs of all things pro cycling: Lotto Soudal rider Nikolas Maes's race-worn jersey from the 2017 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, signed by the Belgian and complete with race numbers still pinned to the back of it.
Like Lotto Soudal teammate Adam Hansen, Maes will officially retire from professional racing at the end of this season, but Maes has already ridden his last race at last week's Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, where the 34-year-old finished 24th.
He joined Pro Continental team Chocolade Jacques in 2007, and quickly progressed to WorldTour level, joining QuickStep-Innergetic in 2010 and developing into somewhat of a sprinter-rouleur, capable of working in sprint lead-out trains and later offering experience and support at the spring Classics.
It was in the latter capacity that he worked at the various guises of QuickStep until the end of 2016 – more often than not alongside Tom Boonen – before joining Lotto Soudal in 2017.
Maes spent the bulk of his time as a professional riding in the service of others, and has said that he particularly enjoyed mentoring younger riders later in his career, although he took advantage of occasionally getting his own opportunities earlier in his career. He won stage 3 of the 2009 Vuelta a Burgos in a bunch sprint and took the overall classification at the two-day World Ports Classic in 2013, finishing consistently enough on both days in Rotterdam and Antwerp to secure victory ahead of Australia's Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff).
For the record, Maes – bib-number 156 – finished a very credible 28th in this jersey at the 2017 RideLondon-Surrey Classic, in what was a reduced bunch sprint of just over 50 riders, and which was won by Alexander Kristoff, then of Katusha-Alpecin.
The France-based seller is asking a very reasonable €149 (US$175 / £135) for the Vermarc-manufactured jersey, which would look great framed on the wall of any Nikolas Maes, Lotto Soudal, Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic or, simply, professional cycling fan.
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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