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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: MERCKX 525

Velo Press, headed by Ted Costantino "fights the good fight" as Larry likes to say. Why? Because they are passionate about finding wonderful books like this and bringing them to a US audience. Back-in-the-day Ted was involved with what was arguably the best ever US cycling magazine, BICYCLE GUIDE. This was long before Petersen Publishing (home of Motor Trend) bought and systematically destroyed it. Since those days Ted's been tireless in keeping cycling history alive with books like the new Merckx 525,

There have been plenty of books written about cycling's "Babe Ruth" including some other just-released ones we've yet to read. Why should we at CycleItalia care about Eddy, after all he's not even Italian? Maybe because he won almost all the Italian races there were to win, including Milano-San Remo SEVEN times, the Giro d'Italia FIVE times and the GIro di Lombardia twice? He did this on bicycles made by Masi, DeRosa or Colnago fitted with Campagnolo components while on teams named FAEMA or MOLTENI and speaks fluent Italian. He was inducted into the Giro d'Italia hall of fame just this year and had a profound effect on Italian cycling history.

So an Italian cycling fan should be a Merckx fan and and should add this book to their collection. Why? While other books, especially Eddy Merckx by Rik Vanwalleghem (another Velo Press title) do an excellent job of describing the Cannibal, as Merckx was known, it's the photos in MERCKX 525 that make it special. We chose the one above (scanned in at the risk of facing the wrath of the publisher) to show the raw, animal and youthful spirit of a young Eddy. It just jumps off the printed page in a way it can not on a computer screen.
The progression of Merckx from the raw, exuberant youth to grizzled warrior is revealed as you turn the pages. As they say, this is the only "authorized" biography and offers wonderful photographs, some that even Eddy claims HE had not seen before. Well worth the price for your collection or a holiday gift for that "hard to buy for" cyclist on your list.

(Disclaimer: the book was provided free of charge for review purposes. It's reviewed here mostly because we like the folks at Velo Press and wish to encourage them to bring more great books to an English-speaking audience.)

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