Smells like team spirit: How you can own Wout van Aert's odour

Jumbo-Visma to put smelly Tour of Flanders jerseys up for auction

Wout van Aert wins E3 2023
(Image credit: Tim de Waele / Getty)

In the realm of unique memorabilia offerings, the smell of your favourite rider is, arguably, king.

Jumbo-Visma know this. Despite his extensive merchandising range, you cannot purchase l’eau de Wout van Aert in a Dutch supermarket.

But you can get it in an online auction from this weekend. The powerhouse team announced yesterday its partnership with MatchWornShirt , a company that specialises in auctioning off kit that’s been on the backs of the pros - mostly in football. 

That in itself is not terribly unusual. Used jerseys have long been a popular piece of memorabilia among fans, coming somewhere in the middle of a hierarchy that starts with bidons and works its way up to race-winning bikes.

But MatchWornShirt has a unique selling point; it’s not just the garment that’s in tact, it’s the odour as well. 

The Jumbo-Visma website proudly boasts: “The jerseys are professionally cleaned using UV-C technology to remove bacteria and viruses, while maintaining the smell of your favourite rider and the dirt from the cobblestones. In this way, all jerseys are delivered as authentically as possible.”

The jersey’s come with a certificate of authenticity, should anyone question the scent wafting through your hallway at home.

We’re not really sure what the use of this is unless, perhaps, you think getting a friend/partner/dungeon master to thrust said shirt in your face at the climax of a particularly hard Zwift session, à la Smell the Glove by Spinal Tap, so you can huff down the salty aroma of Belgium’s favourite son will allow you to channel his mega-watts. 

None the less, these auctions have proved popular in the past. Alberto Bettiol’s signed jersey from the Giro d’Italia in 2021, where he won a stage, went for £1,711 ($2,100) and they washed that one; Julian Alaphilippe’s world champion’s jersey from the 2021 Tour of Flanders sold for £2,753 ($3,384); while the jersey of the winner of that race, and Danish national champion, Kasper Asgreen set one Belgian back £4,344 ($5,300).

If you do value not just a unique piece of memorabilia but one that smells authentic too then you’ll need to have a decent chunk of cash to hand.

If Wout van Aert wins on Sunday at the Tour of Flanders - the first race that jerseys will be sold from - then you will definitely need to find a sum of money of four figures, maybe even more.

But if you miss out this time, fear not as the team will be auctioning off kit from all the grand tours and several classics throughout the year.

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