The strange bike racing year that is 2020 has seen some confusing things like races with no spectators and Spring Classics in autumn but the weirdest is the overlapping of two Grand Tours as the Giro's final week coincides with the Vuelta's first. But in 1981 only three days separated the two races and Giovanni Battaglin, in the new book “48 Days,” tells the astonishing story of how he won both.
Book Review: Thanks to Covid-19 the 2020 Giro d'Italia started this weekend in Sicily... In October! Thanks to “Maglia Rosa: Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro d’Italia” by British author/Italian resident Herbie Sykes, we have an English-language history of the Giro d’Italia.
There is a very special jersey that, once you win it at a one day event, it is yours for a year wherever you race. This jersey, is of course, the glorious rainbow-striped confection first donned by Alfredo Binda in 1927. Its fascinating history is the subject of “Chasing the Rainbow: The Story of Road Cycling's World Championships” by Giles Belbin.
Author Peter Cossins describes in his history of that first 1903 Tour de France, the inelegantly titled “Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep,” the original Tour de France, something totally new and untried and flawed in many ways, “should be considered as one of the greatest events in sporting history.”
Australia, once deemed primarily suitable as a dumping-off place for convicts, is in fact a stunningly beautiful land. Its wild countryside has attracted explorers and adventurers, but cycling around it takes a special dedication. Some of the brave and/or eccentric souls who did are the subjects of a new book by Daniel Oakman, “Wild Ride.”
Book Review: As the 2020 Tour winds up the first week, Leslie Reissner takes a trip down Memory Lane and journeys the Tour de France routes of the past. Mapping le Tour by Ellis Bacon maps the journey taken from the first Tour to 2014 when the French race hit the roads of Yorkshire.
The Covid-19 delayed 2020 Tour de France has eventually started and we all hope it will go all the way to Paris in three weeks time, but at least we have racing to watch. To go along with what we will see on the TV, Rapha have put together a collection of Tour maps covering each year from 1903 until 2018.
Italian book “Bicycles: Past, Present and Future” by Roberto Gurian, with graphic design by Maria Cucchi, has been translated by Robert Bethel into English, but marvelous bike photos speak in all languages. PEZ literary editor, Leslie Reissner, gives us his thoughts on this wonderful bike book.
There is an old joke that the only famous Belgians anyone can name are Hercule Poirot and Tintin and both are fictitious but not only has Belgium produced celebrated cyclists, but it has given us the best one of all: Edouard Louis Joseph Merckx. “Merckx 525” is a particularly good book published by Velopress nearly a decade ago that gives us his accomplishments in visual form and is well worth seeking out.