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Herbie Sykes - Author

About the Author

HERBIE SYKES is a cycling journalist, historian and author of The Eagle of Canavese, about Franco Balmamion, Maglia Rosa: Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro d'Italia, and Coppi: Inside the Legend of Campionissimo Sykes lives in Turin, and writes for a number of cycling publications.

Featured books by Herbie Sykes

The Race Against the Stasi The Incredible Story of Dieter Wiedemann, the Iron Curtain and the Greatest Cycling Race on Earth

The Race Against the Stasi The Incredible Story of Dieter Wiedemann, the Iron Curtain and the Greatest Cycling Race on Earth

Author: Herbie Sykes Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/09/2014

Winner of the Cycling Book of the Year Award at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. Shortlisted for the Outstanding Sports Writing of the Year Award at the British Sports Book Awards 2015. When the 'Iron Curtain' descended across Europe, Dieter Wiedemann was a hero of East German sport. A podium finisher in The Peace Race, the Eastern Bloc equivalent of the Tour de France, he was a pin-up for the supremacy of socialism over the 'fascist' West. Unbeknownst to the authorities, however, he had fallen in love with Sylvia Hermann, a girl from the other side of the wall. Socialist doctrine had it that the two of them were 'class enemies', and as a famous athlete Dieter's every move was pored over by the Stasi. Only he abhorred their ideology, and in Sylvia saw his only chance of freedom. Now, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse, he plotted his escape. In 1964 he was delegated, once and once only, to West Germany. Here he was to ride a qualification race for the Tokyo Olympics, but instead committed the most treacherous of all the crimes against socialism. Dieter Wiedemann, sporting icon and Soviet pawn, defected to the other side. Whilst Wiedemann fulfilled his lifetime ambition of racing in the Tour de France, his defection caused a huge scandal. The Stasi sought to 'repatriate' him, with horrific consequences both for him and the family he left behind. Fifty years on, and twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dieter Wiedemann decided it was time to tell his story. Through his testimony and that of others involved, and through the Stasi file, which has stalked him for half a century, Herbie Sykes uncovers an astonishing tale. It is one of love and betrayal, of the madness at the heart of the cold war, and of the greatest bike race in history.

Other books by Herbie Sykes

Juve!

Juve!

Author: Herbie Sykes Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/10/2020

The definitive history of the iconic football club: the glory, the scandal, the stars and its enduring influence on Italian life. Juventus utterly dominates the Italian game. Home to some of the biggest names in sport, it has won title after title, trophy after trophy. However, parallel to the success and myth, there's a murkier reality. For one hundred years the club and its billionaire owners, the Agnelli family, have been synonymous with match-fixing, doping, political chicanery and more. While La Vecchia Signora remains Italy's best-supported team, it's also its most despised. Juve! charts the story of Italy's great sporting dynasty, chronicling the triumphs and tragedies of the Agnellis, and of the icons - Boniperti, Del Piero, Ronaldo - who have been their sporting emissaries for almost a century. The pride of Italy or its dark heart? Footballing colossus or vanity project? With this unique institution, as with so much about life in Italy, things are seldom black and white...

The Race Against the Stasi

The Race Against the Stasi

Author: Herbie Sykes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/01/2016

Cycling Book of the Year - Cross British Sports Book Awards When the 'Iron Curtain' descended across Europe, Dieter Wiedemann was a hero of East German sport. A podium finisher in The Peace Race, the Eastern Bloc equivalent of the Tour de France, he was a pin-up for the supremacy of socialism over the 'fascist' West. Unbeknownst to the authorities, however, he had fallen in love with Sylvia Hermann, a girl from the other side of the wall. Socialist doctrine had it that the two of them were 'class enemies', and as a famous athlete Dieter's every move was pored over by the Stasi. Only he abhorred their ideology, and in Sylvia saw his only chance of freedom. Now, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse, he plotted his escape. In 1964 he was delegated, once and once only, to West Germany. Here he was to ride a qualification race for the Tokyo Olympics, but instead committed the most treacherous of all the crimes against socialism. Dieter Wiedemann, sporting icon and Soviet pawn, defected to the other side. Whilst Wiedemann fulfilled his lifetime ambition of racing in the Tour de France, his defection caused a huge scandal. The Stasi sought to 'repatriate' him, with horrific consequences both for him and the family he left behind. Fifty years on, and twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dieter Wiedemann decided it was time to tell his story. Through his testimony and that of others involved, and through the Stasi file, which has stalked him for half a century, Herbie Sykes uncovers an astonishing tale. It is one of love and betrayal, of the madness at the heart of the cold war, and of the greatest bike race in history.

Maglia Rosa 2nd edition

Maglia Rosa 2nd edition

Author: Herbie Sykes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 25/04/2013

Maglia Rosa: Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro d'Italia, is the definitive history of the Giro d'Italia, written by Turin resident and regular Rouleur contributor Herbie Sykes. Sykes takes the reader on an inspiring, magical journey. In so doing he evokes 100 years of the race for the maglia rosa, the mythical pink jersey of the race leader. In addition the book contains many stunning photographs as a century of Italy's great sporting festival is captured on film. Uncovers the myths and legends of Italy's very own grand tour, first run off in 1909 and celebrated in a book that captures many of the stories that have never been told in English. This second edition includes many updates from Sykes, new photographs and a new introduction.

Coppi

Coppi

Author: Herbie Sykes Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/11/2012

Herbie Sykes's Coppi is a beautiful, unique evocation of global cycling legend Fausto Coppi. Built around an extraordinary collection of hand-picked, never before seen images, the book also features testimony from those who knew him intimately. Fausto Coppi remains the most iconic cyclist in the history of the sport. For twenty years either side of the war his extravagant talent, allied to a unique charisma and human frailty, captivated sports fans across Europe. Moreover, he revolutionised the sport of bike racing itself, laying the foundations for the generations who would follow. Coppi was Il Campionissimo, his greatness so unequivocal that his celebrity transcended mere sport. As such both his professional and private lives were endlessly pawed over by his country's insatiable post-war media. In deserting his wife and daughter for a divorcee in 1954, he traumatised Catholic Italy. Thereafter his life became a soap opera from which he was unable to escape until his dramatic death in 1960. These images, many among them genuine masterpieces, were unearthed through hours of painstaking research. Allied to the personal truths of those closest to him, they reveal the man behind the Fausto Coppi myth. Put simply, the book strips away many of the half-truths and downright lies which have been grafted onto his legend over the decades. As such it's a very different kind of sports biography, and a must-have for all genuine cycling fans.

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