Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Eagle Has Landed... in the Giro

In time for the Giro...

Guy gave me this book, The Eagle of the Canavese: Franco Balmamion and the Giro d'ltalia by Herbie Sykes. In fact, he gave me quite a few cycling books. This is one I've wanted to read since it was first published. I'm in the middle of it and I can tell you that it's hard to put down.

The Worthy Silent Champion.

Franco Balmamion is a bit of a cycling iconoclast; a rider that won back to back Giro's (1962-1963), second in 1967 and third in the 1967 Tour de France. Never heard of him? He belongs to a small number of riders to successfully defend the Maglia Rosa. And yet little is written of him.

Herbie Sykes sets out to re-discover Balmamion, called the 'Silent Champion' and to put him truly back into the pantheon of cycling's greats. He captures the parochial Italian cycling world of the sixties a world of cycling mysticism.

This enjoyable read on the forgotten champion in the backdrop of 1960s historical Italy is exquisitely detailed... the Silent Champion no more!

After winning the 1963 Giro...
Both images courtesy Graziano Nardini

Campione Italiano 1967


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