From the Library: Fallen Angel, the Passion of Fausto Coppi...

Fausto Coppi, one of the best known names in the sport of cycling. But how many really know his story? I confess I did not. Sure I had gathered up pieces of it here and there, but it was not until I managed to pick up this book that I feel I was really able to put those pieces together into some semblance of a complete picture. While there is plenty of racing here, it almost seems as though it is background rather than front and center. Much is made of the rivalry between Coppi and fellow Italian Gino Bartoli, but also more personal incidents in the relationship as well; at the time of Coppi's marriage "there was no money to deck the church with flowers, so Bartoli, like the good Christian he was, had overlooked their rivalry and rigged a win for Coppi in a criterium so he could take home a bouquet or two." 

Some of the most interesting parts of the book involve Coppi during the time he spent as a prisoner of war during World War II - incidents relating how he managed to train and keep a bit of form. The title should have been a give away, but much of the book revolves around the relationships between Coppi and those near him - family, teammates, opponents, fans. Primary amongst those relationships is, of course, the affair between Fausto and Giulia Locatelli, and the intricate problems faced by Coppi, his two families, team, friends, and the implications for all of Italy.

Fotheringham, William   Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi   London: Yellow Jersey Press, 2009