Voted the most popular Italian sportsman of the twentieth century, Fausto Angelo Coppi was the campionissimo - champion of champions. The greatest cyclist of the immediate post-war years, he was the first man to win cycling's great double, the Tour de France and Tour of Italy in the same year - and he did it twice. He achieved mythical status for his crushing solo victories, world titles and world records. But his significance extends far beyond his sport.
Coppi's scandalous divorce and controversial early death convulsed a conservative, staunchly Roman Catholic Italy in the 1950s. At a time when adultery was still illegal, Coppi and his lover were dragged from their bed in the middle of the night, excommunicated and forced to face a clamorous legal battle. The ramifications of this case are still being felt today.
In Fallen Angel, acclaimed cycling biographer, William Fotheringham, tells the tragic story of Coppi's life and death - of how a man who became the symbol of a nation's rebirth after the disasters of war died reviled and heartbroken. Told with insight and intelligence, this is a unique portrait of Italy and Italian sport at a time of tumultuous change.
"Fotheringham is at his best when describing the emergence of a new national hero from a world of rubble and grinding poverty"
William Fotheringham writes for the Guardian and Observer on cycling and rugby. A racing cyclist and launch editor of procycling and Cycle Sport magazines, he has reported on over twenty Tours de France. He is the critically lauded author of Fallen Angel, Roule Britannia, Put Me Back on My Bike, which Vélo magazine called 'The best cycling biography ever written; and the Sunday Times number one bestselling biography of Eddy Merckx.