Shortlisted for the British Sports Book Awards 2013
Herbie Sykes's Coppi is a beautiful, unique evocation of global cycling legend Fausto Coppi. Built around an extraordinary collection of hand-picked, never before seen images, the book also features testimony from those who knew him intimately.
Fausto Coppi remains the most iconic cyclist in the history of the sport. For twenty years either side of the war his extravagant talent, allied to a unique charisma and human frailty, captivated sports fans across Europe. Moreover, he revolutionised the sport of bike racing itself, laying the foundations for the generations who would follow.
Coppi was Il Campionissimo, his greatness so unequivocal that his celebrity transcended mere sport. As such both his professional and private lives were endlessly pawed over by his country's insatiable post-war media. In deserting his wife and daughter for a divorcée in 1954, he traumatised Catholic Italy. Thereafter his life became a soap opera from which he was unable to escape until his dramatic death in 1960.
These images, many among them genuine masterpieces, were unearthed through hours of painstaking research. Allied to the personal truths of those closest to him, they reveal the man behind the Fausto Coppi myth. Put simply, the book strips away many of the half-truths and downright lies which have been grafted onto his legend over the decades. As such it's a very different kind of sports biography, and a must-have for all genuine cycling fans.
What the reviewers had to say:
– The Sunday Telegraph
'...well worth adding to your bookshelf... page after page of atmospheric, unusual, beautiful and striking pictures.'
– Cycle Sport Magazine
'Cycling literature is certainly in rude health right now and the best-looking sports book this year was surely Herbie Sykes' coffee-table tome charting the exploits of Fausto Coppi'
‘One of the best books I have seen in a long time. Stunning stuff, and the words and stories are just superb'
– Tom Southam
'The images are great alone. But for me the 21 accounts from Coppi's contemporaries are what make the book special, bringing the past alive.... a glimpse at the rich history of Italian cycling'
– The Inner Ring
'In a difficult time for publishing, the literature of cycling is enjoying spectacular growth. Herbie Sykes's Coppi contains page after page of glorious and beautifully printed images from the career of Il Campionissimo, as the incomparably charismatic Fausto Coppi was known, interspersed with the testimony of the old men who were once his team-mates and rivals. The pictures are mostly black and white, of course, but nothing is more moving than the muted colour photographs of the great man's funeral, with crowds thronging the lanes around his village in Piedmont on a sunlit winter's day in 1960.'
– Richard Williams, Guardian
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