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

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9781781313084: The Race Against the Stasi: The Incredible Story of Dieter Wiedemann, the Iron Curtain and the Greatest Cycling Race on Earth

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.

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Présentation de l'éditeur :

In the early 1960s Dieter Wiedemann was a hero of East German cycling. A podium finisher in The Peace Race, the Soviet equivalent of the Tour de France, he was a pin up for the supremacy of socialism over the fascist West.

But then he met the girl, who lived on the wrong side of the Wall. As he prepared for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which required him to compete in West Germany for one race, he saw his only chance of freedom and defected. 

Not only did this cause a huge scandal as the stasi tried to 'repatriate' him, it also destroyed his family left behind as the stasi set to work on them to convince him to come him. Some of those wounds have still not healed.

Part cycling story, part cold war and love story, this is Ben MacIntyre meets the great escape, a sporting equivalent of Anna Funder s seminal Stasiland

Biographie de l'auteur :

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.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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