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Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi


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Voted the most popular Italian sportsman of the 20th century  Fausto Angelo Coppi was the campionissimo - champion of cycling champions.  

The greatest cyclist of the immediate postwar years  Coppi`s scandalous divorce and controversial death convulsed Italy in the 1950s and were still making headlines half a century later.   In Fallen Angel  William Fotheringham - author of the definitive biography of Tom Simpson -  tells Coppi`s story for the first time for an English-speaking audience.

Coppi 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 and universal public sympathy for his persistent ill-luck.

His epic rivalry with Gino Bartali divided Italian opinion for a decade. But his significance extends far beyond his sport.Coppi`s divorce remains a landmark case in Italy`s shift away from the church. In the 1950s  adultery in Italy was still a criminal offence  punishable by up to a year in prison.  Coppi and his lover  the `White Lady` Giulia Occhini both married with children  were dragged from their bed in the middle of the night and taken to jail. They were excommunicated and a clamorous legal battle followed.

The `White Lady` was forced to emigrate to Argentina; Coppi himself died aged just forty  from malaria contracted during an insignificant race in the Upper Volta of Africa.  Fallen Angel tells the story of Coppi`s tragic 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. It is a unique portrait of Italy and Italian sport at a time of tumultuous social change.
By: William Forthingham
Book: Paperback, 304 pages
Code: 074506
Publishing Date: June 2010