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The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs Hardcover – 11 Sep 2012
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"Brilliantly detailed and wholly convincing: with Coyle's skill and Hamilton's honesty, the book was always likely to be excellent. This is no generalised or theoretical exploration of a doping culture but a forensic description of how it worked. Armstrong used to say there would always be sceptics who didn't believe in his story, but now the sceptics are those who, ostrich-like, continue to believe. They should be compelled to read this book, and though the collision with reality will cause them to shudder, the good news is that they will be riveted by a well-told story and will be the better for knowing the truth." (David Walsh Sunday Times)
"The broadest, most accessible look at cycling's drug problem to date." (New York Times)
"The news leaks about The Secret Race have vastly undersold its importance. Tyler Hamilton's book is a historic, definitive indictment of cycling's culture of doping during the Armstrong era. Here's the reality. The Secret Race isn't just a game changer for the Armstrong myth. It's the game ender. No one can read this book with an open mind and still credibly believe that Armstrong didn't dope. It's impossible. That doesn't change the fact that he survived cancer and helped millions of people through Livestrong, but the myth of the clean-racing hero who came back from the dead is, well, dead. The book is the holy grail for disillusioned cycling fans in search of answers. The book's power is in the collected details, all strung together in a story that is told with such clear-eyed conviction that you never doubt its veracity." (Outside magazine)
"Astonishingly candid... an extraordinary confessional." (Matt Dickinson The Times)
"Riveting... Just about every significant detail in the USADA evidence is here. And it is brilliantly conveyed by an insider who can see both sides of the story: the institutional corruption, which eats away at the culprits, as well as the crippling pressure on riders to conform. We can expect plenty more books to be published on this conspiracy, for it is arguably the most audacious ever plotted in the world of sport. But it feels as though Hamilton's is likely to become the definitive work on the subject." (Simon Briggs Daily Telegraph)
The riveting, news-breaking story of former Olympic gold medalist and seven-time Tour de France rider Tyler Hamilton, who takes us deep inside the secret world of professional cycling, his years as Lance Armstrong's teammate, and what it took to win - no matter the cost.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
But is it as black and white as that, or is it all one big grey area?
Tyler Hamilton's autobiography is all about that area. What if you worked as hard as you possibly could, got yourself onto the start lines for the pinnacle of your sport, you tried and tried ... and then found you couldn't compete. It's not because you don't have the talent, or because you haven't put the hours in - it's because those around you are using little red pills, or white bags, they have barely distinguishable needle marks in their arms - and they go that little bit quicker than you time and time again.
The authorities don't want to do anything about it, it's almost impossible to prove, and so you have a choice: Join them and compete on a fair-ish playing field, or give everything up and go home to find something else to do.
What do you do?
Is Tyler Hamilton a cheat? yes he is - he'll tell you that. This autobiography is not self-serving, it's not a man trying to justify what he did, or claw back some sort of reputation, this is an astonishing tale of widespread doping at the highest level of sport. It's scary because things such as blood transfusions, taking pills and sticking needles in yourself seems so normal.
Some say this book is about Lance Armstrong and to a degree it is - but it's really about human beings and what we do to ourselves when the pressure is on.Read more ›
The book is well balanced between the different time periods of Hamiltons career, including an adequate into his childhood and early amateur days in the US. The bulk of the book is concentrated around his US Postal years and his relationship with Lance Armstrong. The LA part of the book tends to take up a little too much space at times and one certainly gets the impression that this relationship is indeed complicated. The final chapters of the books describing the FDA/USADA investigations appear less well written probably representing the emotional turmoil of these recent events but that doesn't spoil the overall impression of the book.
Contrary to most other 'confessions of a doper books' Hamilton actually spills the beans about almost everyone, but he does it in a quite non-condemning way, and people with an interest in cycling will find lots of interesting tid-bits.
Is it credible? I have a long running interest in doping in cycling, I'm an MD and a former amateur elite rider and well connected with both doctors and riders in cycling and I'll rate the contents as quite credible.
The book is as well written as 'Rough ride' and as detailed as 'Massacre a la chaine' and highly recommended.
Q1. Did he dope?
A1. Most probably yes.
Q2. Did the whole peloton dope, and therefore wasn't Armstrong just maintaining a level playing field?
A2. Just about - yes.
Q3. Have his denials since winning his last Tour been in this spirit?
Q4: Hero or villain.
After reading the book, and believing the confessions about Tyler Hamilton as well as his accounts of other riders, my answers have changed to:
A1. Oh yes. Big time.
A2. Most of the peloton in the 90s were doping, but Armstrong was doping most. He applied his one-step ahead philosophy not only to his training but also to his doping as well. The best doctors, the best drugs, the best methods, the best connections with the authorities. Three blood infusions over the course of a three week Tour was not close to a level playing field. Did this abuse distort the results of the races - most probably yes.
A3. His denials have been absolute, condescending and at times threatening to others, and have cost him a large amount of money to construct. They are discrediting to him and others, untrue, and calculated to defend a personal reputation and fortune.
Let us hope that the book contributes to his deserved and overdue outing.
This book sets down a marker and will become a matter for the historical record. I expect a lot more information to become public as cases are pursued in the autumn. One of the key questions will be about the role of the UCI - did it do its best or was it negligent, incompetent or corrupt? The book clearly suggests corruption at the highest level. For too long the focus has been on individual riders rather than a root and branch examination of the entire system.
A great book, quick to read and gripping. One always reads exposes like this sceptically, as the author will have his own agenda, nevertheless, this has the ring of authenticity and is backed by Coyle's investigative journalism and recent events such as USADA's investigation. It's a shame we've had to wait so long, and a greater shame that so many still appear in denial in the sport. It was clearly cathartic for Hamilton to write this and allowed him to move on and took a lot of courage to do so.
Buy it and make up your own mind.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant, a very interesting insight into the secret lives of some of the Tour participants.Published 6 days ago by S
Great read. Armstrong was a clown of the cycling world too powerful to be questioned but it eventually caught up with him, thank Christ the evil bullyPublished 17 days ago by adam greenwood
Superb exposé and refreshing honesty. Illustrating the issues all major sports now face. NFL etc . . . . .Published 23 days ago by perdido lane
Great insiders view from the Peloton during the Armstrong years. You can only feel pity and regret for Hamilton once you've read this.Published 1 month ago by LJR2707
Prompt delivery. Ordered as a gift and really enjoyed by the recipientPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I have read quite a few cycling related books that have focused on the doping issue within the sport. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Archie Kay
Well this is one of the most insight explanation of Lance and his doping years as well as a doping generation from Tyler Hamilton perspective.Published 2 months ago by Anil S.