A yellow jersey that Eddy Merckx wore during the 1975 Tour de France was sold for £4,200 at an auction in Cardiff this week. In that year’s Tour, Merckx would end up losing the yellow to Bernard Thevenet following on from an attack by a spectator.
The jersey was just one of a number of pieces of sporting memorabilia being auctioned by Rogers Jones Auctioneers. The item which gained the highest bid was a Welsh rugby jersey worn by Will Joseph which went for nearly £19,000.
Another highlight was one of Pelé’s jerseys which yielded £2,200. It was said to have been one of the few Santos jerseys which he signed. A BIC jersey belonging to Jacques Anquetil was also auctioned and it went for £1,200.
The Merckx jersey had been acquired by French sports-journalist Jean Cormier as a gift for former Wales rugby-player, coach and selector Mr Clive Rowlands.
Mr Cormier visited Mr Rowlands in South Wales for an interview and when at Cwmtwrch RFC the sports-writer vowed to acquire an important item `for the Cwmtwrch collection` and the Merckx jersey arrived shortly afterwards.
The 1975 Tour de France saw the legend Merckx attempt to claim his sixth victory, but there was huge controversy as the Belgian became a victim of violence from a member of the partisan crowd.
It was said that some French cycling supporters were more than anxious that Merckx might beat the record of five wins which he held alongside Frenchman Jacques Anquetil.
Consequently, at stage 14 a spectator leapt from the crowd and punched Merckx causing him to fall and break a cheekbone. As a result French cyclist Bernard Thevenet took the lead and was the winner of the tour, Eddy Merckx came in second and Eddy Merckx did not win the tour again.