In the early 1960s a young Piedmontese cyclist named Franco Balmamion won successive editions of the Giro d’Italia, an achievement no Italian has managed to emulate in almost half a century since. In the post-war era only Balmamion and the three greats Coppi, Merckx and Induraín, have successfully defended the fabled maglia rosa. And yet virtually nothing is known of a rider whose Giro record surpassed all but the very best, and who, with a fraction of the support others enjoyed, may well have won not only a third Giro, but also the Tour de France.
In capturing the 1962 Giro Balmamion, the so-called `Silent Champion’, displayed extraordinary courage, overcoming not only his rivals but also the mutiny and skullduggery of a famous, celebrated team-mate. His epic performance, aged just 22, was the equal of anything achieved by any of the true giants of the sport, but remains a story untold, ignored by the cycling world, obscured by the mists of time.
In an unforgettable quest to recover the memory of ‘The Eagle of the Canavese’ Herbie Sykes uncovers the secrets of an extraordinary race, and of the heroes and villains who defined it. Their stories, by turns astonishing, heroic and heartbreaking, are as immediate and relevant today as they were back then. ‘…Italian cycle racing in the 60s brought to life with a refreshingly new perspective.

This is a book about courage and deceit, joy and the sadness of careers that were lost. A tremendous read.’ Phil Liggett, renowned international cycling commentator.

“…packed with zest and anecdote, this account of Balmamion, the ‘forgotten man’ of the 1960s is a joy to read.” David Harmon, British Eurosport

 “This is much more than a simple biography of a great but long-forgotten rider. It paints a vivid and wry picture of 1960s Italy and cycling’s place in Italian culture. The level of detail is astonishing and Herbie Sykes’s love for racing and for the characters he encounters on his journey through the era is never in doubt. This is a great book, to be enjoyed by committed ‘tifosi’ or anyone interested in the romance of cycle racing.” Luke Edwardes-Evans, cycling editor and journalist
“I love Italy and I’ve had a lot of success there on the road. I rode the Giro last year. The Eagle of the Canavese is a real eye- opening look at my sport. The riders in the 60s obviously had a very tough time. This book is so revealing, once I started I couldn’t put it down.” Steve Cummings, World, Commonwealth gold and Olympic silver medalist

Order from:
Sport & Publicity, 75 Fitzjohns Avenue, Hampstead, London NW3 6PD. Tel: 0208 7236620/07809148568 either by cheque or by PayPal per website on or email for further details or contact Mousehold Press, 6, Constitution Opening, Norwich, NR3 4BD. Tel 01603 425115. email

Mousehold Press and Sport & Publicity
announce the publication of

The Eagle of the Canavese:
Franco Balmamion and the Giro d’Italia

by Herbie Sykes

pp 195
38 b/w images
22 maps

Hardback (978-1-874739-50-0)       £17.95
Paperback (978-1-874739-49-4)      £13.95
Plus post and packing                      £1.50