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This Tour de France 1974 yellow jersey once worn in the gruelling race by the legendary cyclist Eddy Mercx is estimated at £5000-10,000 in the June 14 Rogers Jones auction.

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The Tour – won last year by Geraint Thomas of Wales - takes place from July 6-28 and on June 14 Cardiff saleroom Rogers Jones features the jersey estimated at £5000-10,000.

The Le Coq Sportif cotton jersey with original zip, stitched silk 'Almentari Molteni' sponsor label and cotton 'Miko' label front and back and with three section lumbar pocket was worn in the 1974 Tour and is offered with autographs and winner’s ribbon sash.

Cycling machine

Edouard Louis Merckx – also known as ‘The Canibal’ – was a beast of the cycling world. For 14 years between 1965-78 the Belgian dominated in what is regarded as cycling's golden age.

He amassed 445 victories with five Tour de France wins.

The 61st edition of the Tour de France in 1974 was notable for Merckx equalling French cyclist Jacques Anquetil's five Tour victories. He won a record number of stages (32, surpassing the previous record of 25) and became the first man to win the Triple Crown of Cycling in the same year (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Tour de Suisse). The 1974 tour was also memorable for its staging in the UK for the first time and for Basque separatists placing bombs on press and team cars.

The following year, Merckx was subject to violence by a spectator during a stage preventing him winning the Tour de France for a record sixth time and beating the shared record of Tour victories.

Jersey provenance

The jersey was consigned entered directly from Belgium by a female Belgian vendor who was 20 years old in 1974. The vendor's father was very friendly with Jean Crahay, the driver of the car of a Belgian sports newspaper. Crahay became good friends with Merckx and fellow Belgian cyclist Joseph Bruyère, and they both gave Crahay yellow jerseys from the tour.

The jerseys were then in turn gifted to the vendor's father who passed them on to the vendor - a big fan of Merckx and the Tour de France at the time.

Centenary year

The maillot jaune concept – yellow jersey – is a hundred years old in 2019. It is awarded to the race leader of the general classification after a stage although he is not a winner as such, merely the wearer.

To mark this centenary, Tour de France organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) and the race’s jersey sponsor Le Coq Sportif have announced 20 individual yellow jerseys to be worn during the 2019 Tour de France. “Unique images of significant buildings, locations and riders are faintly overlaid onto each of the yellow jerseys” – including, for Stage 3, Eddy Merckx.