I ran across someone saying he had a frame formerly ridden by a top-level professional road racer for such and such a team in a particular year.
This got me wondering: how much or little does racing provenance add to a frame's value, and how is it proved or documented?
Does the era matter? This particular frame is circa late 1990's, is that too recent to be anything more than an obsolete race bike fit for the scrapper?
Does the racer have to be a household name? How about if the rider was a good one, with a long career competing in all the top-level races (TdF etc) even if the podiums were in smaller races? What about a frame that was a pro race team bike but ridden by an obscure domestique?
Or, perhaps, is the team association more important than the rider?
What evidence is there, realistically, to back up any such claimed provenance? Are riders' names painted on their bikes? I suppose anyone can wield a brush. Bikes' serial numbers, if any, aren't known and tracked like racing cars' chassis identifications are, sometimes anyway. I don't really get how any of this can be proved, other than to say the frame looks like some blurry press photos . . .
I'm thinking mostly road racing, but also wonder how this all applies, or not, to other disciplines. Track racing, mountain biking, cyclocrossing.