It may have been hours before the team presentation held on the day before Paris-Roubaix, but the cycling aficionados were already in attendance. As they waited for the riders, they wandered around a pop-up market held metres from the sign-on area in Compiègne’s Place Charles de Gaulle.
For those interested in the sport’s past, it was a treasure trove of memorabilia. A wide range of items were on sale, including old books, magazines, comics, miniatures of riders and Tour caravan vehicles, board games and components. There were ancient jerseys, board games featuring champions such as Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault, records, videos, commemorative plates and medals.
Amongst those checking out the gems on display was Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix race director Christian Prudhomme. He spent some time looking at the items on display and also spoke to the various sellers, who were as engaged by the conversation as he was.
He also talked to CyclingTips’ David Everett, telling him that he had a mountain of such items at home. He reminded him that he used to be a journalist and, pointing to a 1989 annual from the world championships in Chambéry, said it was the first year he worked as a commentator.
Check out the gallery to see a sample of the items on display from the market. The memorabilia serves as a reminder of what some would term the sport’s golden era, a time before clipless pedals, electronic shifters, designer shades and immaculately-surfaced roads.
The minatures point to an older time, with riders and cars from past pelotons climbing in front of Alpine backdrops.
An old press car for L’Equipe, the sister publication to the Tour de France.
In addition to an alpine backdrop (far left), the models were also in front of photos of old stars.
Team jerseys from various eras were also on sale.
A Laurent Fignon board game on sale. Note Phil Anderson, Claude Criquielion and Sean Kelly in the photograph.
There was also a Bernard Hinault board game.
One of many old magazines on sale.
Some peculiar colourization (and hair!) in this Jacques Anquetil image.
Want a Tour comic book? Yep, that’s available too.
A quirky photograph from times past, reversing the podium girl setup. Note the grimacing child in front of the bride.
Details from the 1958 Tour de France route. Note the lack of race transfers. This is possible in part due to a greater race distance: at 4,319 kilometres, it was considerably longer than the 3,516 kilometres of this year’s race. It also included a final stage between Dijon and Paris which was 320 kilometres in length.
An early type of clipless pedals, branded with the Eddy Merckx logo.
An old TA chainset.
A magazine, yellowed by time.
Been searching high and low for an Eddy Merckx interview on vinyl? Yep, that and other weird wishes could be granted at the market.
Ancient plates from an ancient era.
Commemorative medals from bygone eras.
Another plate, this one commemorating Eddy Merckx’s hour record in 1972.
“Everyone against Eddy Merckx,” including Raymond Poulidor (l).
A poster celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jacques Anquetil’s Tour victory. Again, note the lack of race transfers.
Figurines of some of the sport’s greatest riders and team kits.
Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix race director Christian Prudhomme checks out the same figurines.
Prudhomme engages in discussion with one of the vendors.
Prudhomme and CyclingTips’ David Everett exchange thoughts about the market and memorabilia.
There was a huge number of books on sale, although very few in langauges other than French.
Yet more magazines…
Photos of past riders. In all, there were thousands on display throughout the market.
Another Tour de France comic, complete with quirky illustrations and jubilant fans.
A slightly more menacing-looking cover. Are they fans? Are they stalkers? And what’s in that bottle?
A book looking back at the 1989 worlds in Chambéry, France, as won by Greg LeMond.