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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative of the second great era of cycling, 22 Jun 2008
By 
Daniel Hayes - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
Those enthusiasts amongst us think of Coppi and Bartali when asked of the greatest Italian riders, and their time ended by the late fifties really. Herbie has not taken the easier path and replicated the stories of this first era, but instead he's combined an obvious love of the Piedmont area, Italy, riding a bike, and more specifically, an obvious affection for a man who we should all have heard of earlier.

I love the stuff about simply riding, and how it feels - one day you are king of the road, the next, your rear brake is clearly sticking! Krabbe is the only other cycling author I've read so far who shares Herbies ability for putting into words how riding feels for mortals like us. Brilliantly, he also gave us an idea of what it is to be great on a bike from time to time.
Franco is portrayed with genuine affection, as an honest, modest, and hugely talented rider. Herbie diligently provides us with a feeling of the geography, the city, the era, and of Italy's place in the world at that time, and then adds Franco Balmamion to the mix. This is what will make this book a good cross over from just a sports book, and I'd recommend it to any reader with a love of Italy, or just a bloody good tale, lovingly portrayed for us.
I'm glad I know Franco Balmamion now, and I hope that Herbie's book escapes the 'niche' market tag, and is given credit simply as a great book. Looking forward to the next book already!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Eagle of the Canavese, 11 May 2008
This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
I must confess I hadn't actually heard of Franco Balmamion before reading this, but having done so I find myself in awe of the man. The story of the race, the fallout between Balmamion and his team-mate Defilippis, is so gripping and tightly woven that it reads almost like a novel, and I can't think of any higher praise than that. Forget about Hamilton and Alonso's infantile squabbling and read this, it's a great book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A absolute must, for anybody interested in cycling in Italy in the sixties, 31 July 2008
By 
Patrick Feyaerts "patfey" (Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
I am myself a big lover of fifties and sixties bicycle racing, not a surprising thing for a Belgian. I very much appreciated this book, one of the best, if not the best, ever written in English about the history of cycling. Not only you get a thrilling history of the Giro d'Italia 1962 with a lot of behind the scenes information, but also an interesting view on the interaction between cycling and the development of postwar Italy.
An absolute must-read for anybody interested in sports or cycling history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read, 17 Jun 2008
This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
Brilliant, intelligent writing and an astonishing story. Part travelogue, part biography, partly the story of an amazing race and the stuff the public never gets to see. Go buy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read!, 9 May 2008
By 
This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
I'm not really a cycling fan, more an "Italy" fan, but I loved this book. It delicately explores the forces that shaped the country's development through the twentieth century, and the author obviously has a profound understanding of Italian culture and values. I had thought the story of the bike race might be quite dull, but, once I got started with it I found it really absorbing - I never knew bike racing was so complex and political! I didn't understand all of the technical elements, but it didn't matter because this is essentially a book about people. Some of the writing is wonderful, particularly the stories of the hardship the old riders had to endure. Thoroughly recommended, whether you like cycling or not!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Eagle of Canvesse: Franco Balmamion, 24 Sep 2008
By 
P. Wilson "Manchesterman" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
This book is expertly written about an era of cycling where the riders were heroes and the races masterpieces of art. I loved this book from start to finish with it's characterisations, architecture and passion making the interviews come to life to create a wonderful story. Read this if you are interested in real cycling not the artificial world of Lance et al, where drugs weren't used to cheat but to survive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE EAGLE OF THE CANAVASE, 11 Sep 2008
By 
Mr. Eric Dunsdon (Bedfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
Sadly there have been all too few English language books about Italian cycle racing in general and the Giro d'Italia in particular, This excellent book covers both subjects beautifully. This is one of the very best books on cycle racing that I have read, a perfect antidote to the seemingly endless stream of Lance Armstrong related Tour De France books. This is an essential read for anyone who loves the passion, colour, romance and rivalries that make Italian racing so irrestitable. Apart from the 'quiet Campione' Balmamion himself Herbie Sykes also tells the often moving stories of less famous names that contributed to the 'Giro's' history. A superb read!.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely agree - a great read!, 12 May 2010
By 
T. Phillips (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
My favourite book of 2010 so far. One of my favourite cycling reads ever. I bought this book on the strength of reviews by others on Amazon, and I am really glad I did. This era of cycling isn't all well known to we Brits, save for stories about Anquetil, perhaps. It's the era that sits between Coppi and Merckx. Even what most of us know is probably about the French scene. This book opens the lid on the personalities and machinations of what was going on in Italy at the time.

It's written in a wonderfully accessible style, full of irreverent asides from the author. What's more, much of it is written from first-hand interviews with the characters involved, many of whom are still with us. This is so much more vivid than bigraphies culled largely from press material and the work of others. The book is also a great social history of Italy in the first 20 years after WW2.

If I have any criticisms, there would be only two. There are some jarring spelling errors: eg "breaks" for brakes, and the proof-reader should have been shot. Also, the book covers the 1962 Giro in fascinating detail, and left me aching for a similar story of the 1963 event. Sadly, that gets covered in just a few pages. Maybe the author ran out of time or energy. He certainly won't have run out of material.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my top 3 bike books, love it, 19 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'Italia (Paperback)
great read about the realities of cycling in 1960's Italy. If you're coming to ride here in Piemonte it's a must. Infact, every keen cyclist should read this.
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