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5.0 out of 5 stars
COMPULSORY READING, 19 Jun 2012
This is should be compulsory reading for all cycle racing fans. The book highlights the golden era of Coppi and Bartali from the late Thirties to the middle Fifties as well as covering Italian cycle racing, particularly the Giro, before and after. What makes this book different is that the author relates the racing to the politics of the time - the war and the immediate aftermath when divided loyalties had lasting effect. The role of the Catholic church and the political parties in this mix is explored.
The author blames the growing use of motor cars and scooters, television and doping scandals, which combined to remove the close links to the sport from a population that used the bicycle as the main form of transport, for the demise of cycle racing as Italy's number one sport. Sadly, the author sees no return to those days. I am old enough to have lived through the Coppi and Bartali era when their racing epics were well recorded in the continental cycling magazines we were then able to buy even in small Lincolnshire towns. My big regret is that I had a ticket for the Coppi track appearance at Herne Hill but chose instead to support a clubmate in a local 25.
The author occasionally slips up on the technicalities of cycle racing but this is a only a minor quibble for a well researched and written book.