Maglia rosa is the Italian name for the iconic leader’s jersey at the Giro d’Italia and Herbie Sykes’ book is a detailed insight into the glory and history of Italian cycling. The book is published by Rouleur.
Over 312 pages, Sykes takes the reader on an intimate journey into the passionate heart of Italian cycling. The maglia rosa was only introduced in 1931 but the book details 100 years of the race with over 100 stunning photographs.
Each of the 27 chapters tells the story of a legendary rider or recalls a dramatic moment in the history of the Giro d’Italia, while an introduction by 1988 Giro d’Italia winner Andy Hampsten explains the passion of the fervent Italian tifosi who stand at the road side to cheer on the riders.
Chapters cover Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Eddy Merckx’s mysterious positive drugs test in 1969 and later the tragic demise of Marco Pantani. Others tell the story of lesser known Italian riders and reminds us just how pioneering riders were in the pre-war period when most stages were raced over long distances and on dirt roads.
Sykes gives his opinion on the doping scandals that have affected the Giro in recent years but manages to end the book with a feeling of optimism, noting how the Giro is enjoying a renaissance under the direction of Angelo Zomegnan.
Although not perfect and occasionally vague, the book will provide a well-timed history of the race and whet reader’s appetites for this year’s 102nd edition of the Corsa Rosa which begins in Turin on May 7.
Sykes has recently completed his own tour of Italy to collect the autographs of many of the protagonists detailed in the book. As a result, a limited edition of his book, featuring a special cover and slipcase, will also soon be available.