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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and sad: The grey areas of a hero and villain
Anyone who does drugs or dopes in sport are cheats, right? They're scum: defrauding fans, cutting short their rivals' careers by giving themselves an unfair advantage. They win medals, accolades and sponsors' money that they don't deserve.

But is it as black and white as that, or is it all one big grey area?

Tyler Hamilton's autobiography is all...
Published 20 months ago by Kerry

versus
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Finally the truth, but should we buy this book?
I am not fully convinced by Hamilton's thesis that as he has blown the whistle, that makes him less of a cheat than Armstrong.

They were all cheats, should be banned for life and should not profit from their cheating - and therein lies the dilemma. Hamilton should not be rewarded for his cheating, but without him blowing the whistle we would know less about...
Published 18 months ago by Nigel Lambe


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adds a new perspective, 28 Oct 2012
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I for one always wanted to believe Lance was a freak, someone blessed with that something special that turned his amazing work-rate and training ethos into 7 wins on the TdF. But as more and more evidence appeared, it was harder and harder to ignore what seemed obvious. He did dope. After listening to an excellent BBC Radio 5 Live documentary (Peddlers - Cycling's Dirty Truth) where Tyler Hamilton was the main subject (though many other protagonists in the USADA case were interviewed as well), I decided to buy Hamilton's book.

It's easy to say this is just one person's view of doping, someone close to Lance, someone (possibly) with a grudge against him. But it doesn't read like that. And the cross references at the end of each chapter make it clear there is more than enough research and evidence to support much, if not all, of what Tyler was saying. And, yes it does paint a very different picture of the private Lance Armstrong. Whether you believe Armstrong to be innocent or not, read this book for at least a different view of Pro-cycling, doping and the reasons why top athletes (at least in this sport) bought into it. It explains how easy it was to dope, how prolific it was, and provides a better picture of why it's possible all the top cyclists during the Lance Armstrong era (including Lance) doped to win.

It is a very interesting (and on the face of it) honest read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read - you have to buy it!!, 26 Sep 2012
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A. Lewis "Wireobsessed" (Northamptonshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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If you love cycling you must read this book. If you love sport you must buy this book. Even if you don't love cycling or sport you must read this book. It is a compelling read as it looks in to human psychology, friendship and betrayal, power and corruption and the lengths a person will go to in order to win.

This book is a fascinating read in to the sport of cycling mainly in the 1990s and early 2000s and why this book works is due to it contextualising the facts. You know before you read this book that Tyler Hamilton has been found guilty of doping but this explains his reasons for doing so, it gives you some idea of the pressure he was under and how they did it - which was pretty easily! It is not boring in the slightest and completely opens your eyes to what was going on, who was doing it and why.

I think this book works well because of Daniel Coyle. There is no pretense that Tyler has written this himself; he has created this book by talking, at length, to Daniel Coyle who then a) wrote it down and b) tried to independently check via other sources e.g. team mates/doctors/media that what Tyler said was accurate.

Yes, it does mention Lance Armstrong but it's not all about him. Although it certainly gives you a different idea of his personality to the public persona you see. All of the big names are mentioned and it also gives you an idea in to the dynamics of a cycling team.

This book, makes you think about cycling, and sport, but also human nature. Bullying, love, courage, cowardice, are just some of the words that come to mind. It makes you see and remember that sportspeople are also human and that there is a lot behind the public image you see.

I could not put this book down.

I urge anyone to give this book a read - I don't think you will be disappointed!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Finally the truth, but should we buy this book?, 26 Dec 2012
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Nigel Lambe (Hove, UK) - See all my reviews
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I am not fully convinced by Hamilton's thesis that as he has blown the whistle, that makes him less of a cheat than Armstrong.

They were all cheats, should be banned for life and should not profit from their cheating - and therein lies the dilemma. Hamilton should not be rewarded for his cheating, but without him blowing the whistle we would know less about Armstrong and the others.

Overall, it is a good book and very well written. I just wish the profits were going to a good cause and not a self confessed cheater.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an education., 27 Sep 2012
I new very little about Cycing or The Tour de France. I read an article in The Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago about doping and it quoted Hamiltons book, so I bought it. I read it cover to cover in two days, fascinated by the extremes they went to dope, to win. A great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great discussions with the children, 16 April 2014
We picked up a pretty unlikely looking audiobook from the library for the trip to the Lakes last week. We were captivated within ten minutes. It reads like a Grisham but is autobiographical….secret rendezvous with doctors for blood transfusions, tens of thousands of pounds transferring hands for performance enhancing drugs…friendship and treachery.

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle

The theme is the importance of truth and the freedom that Tyler H experienced when he came clean. He ends by quoting 'the truth shall set you free'. It is a wonderful parable yet true story about the value of living the truth. There is a lot of bad language.

The CD lead to lots of opportunities to talk about ethical issues. My 14 year old son, wife and I were captivated for ten CDs….and my 11 year old engaged in the conversations about the issues of peer pressure and how an overly powerful team member can lead all astray…we had an insight into how evil rules….talk of African dictators and Hitler etc etc…..weak enforcement encourages misdemeanours….
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shocking Indictment of Lance Armstrong and the UCI, 5 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs (Paperback)
This is one of the best books I've ever read. Anyone who has even a vague interest in cycling will not be able to put it down.
Hamilton shy's away from nothing and is frank and disarmingly honest in his account of the biggest cover up in the history of sport.
It's now clear there were more dopers than clean riders in the peleton in his era. Some did so by choice.
Anybody connected with Armstrong, his team or anyone who wanted to be an inhabitant on Planet Lance had a stark choice:
Dope, or leave professional cycling if you have any designs on being a player.
The power and influence that Armstrong was able to wield not only within his team but within cycling and its governing body the UCI is truly frightening. LA didn't just have cancer, he WAS the cancer of a sport embroiled in doping scandals.
After the Festina scandal, instead of easing off, Armstrong went full bore, dragging himself and US Postal even deeper into the murky and clandestine world of doping and blood transfusions.
Hamilton has to be applauded for his concise account of all that went on and deserves full recognition for facing his past and exposing Armstrong for what he is: An egotistical megalomaniac who wrecked careers on a whim, a monster who would make even Narcissus blush.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a convincing account of how easy it all was to get caught up, 16 July 2013
This review is from: The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs (Paperback)
I was bought this book as a present whilst having shunned it on the grounds of someone making a lot of money (presumably?) out of a book that tells the story of how he (Hamilton) made millions out of cheating in cycling. But having been given a copy I thought I may as well read it. I have to confess that on the whole I found the book has changed my view of the character of the many cyclists who got caught up in the doping scandal that rocked cycling in the era dominated by the now disgraced Lance Armstrong. I can now see how easy and apparently 'normal' it was (is?) to improve your performance by taking banned substances - and that if you didn't your career was ended.
My only real issue with Hamilton presenting himself as the victim in all this (which I am for the most part now convinced he is, along with all the other cyclists including Armstrong), was that having been caught and served a 2 year ban for doping, he went straight back into the same of old tricks and won an Olympic gold medal on the back of it.

Hamilton's difficulties about living with the secrecy and guilt are very well portrayed and I felt this was largely a well balanced and credible account.
Armstrong, as you might expect, does not come out of this book with much to his credit. His drug taking is perhaps no worse than anyone else's, but his use of intimidation, bribery, bullying and his own massive influence made me feel both sad and cheated by the fact that I had once (for a long time) believed him to be innocent.
Personally I think this book justifies the hype that surrounds it and am very glad I got round to reading it.
I just hope like hell that Wiggins et al at Team Sky really are the clean riders they claim to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most gripping book about cycling written, 11 July 2013
This review is from: The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs (Paperback)
Critics too often claim books are "unputdownable". Well this one really is: the Secret Race is absolutely gripping.

I read David Millar's autobiog before this and was disappointed at how bland it was and how little true exposure of doping Millar provided. In contrast, this book goes into real detail about life as a cyclist during the Armstrong "doping wars" years and to what lengths the pros went to win.

The book also has resonance in today's peloton. I am sure that Contador had a positive-echo when he tested positive for Clenbuterol - he must have used a contaminated ("glowing") blood bag during the rest day of the 2010 Tour. Contador has come back from his ban and looks a shadow of his former self, perhaps the exposes of doping and blood transfusions that Hamilton details and the enforced retirement of Armstrong really has lead to a cleaner peloton?

Having read other books by Coyle on Armstrong, this is also very well written and full of compelling stories. It is even more fascinating to know that everything Hamilton claims has since been admitted (belatedly and no doubt with an eye to another book) by Armstrong.

Armstrong is portrayed as a very controlling, neurotic, borderline sociopath. His ratting on Phonak to his friends at the UCI after being beaten up to the Ventoux on the Dauphine Libere is even more disturbing than his bullying, intimidation and humiliation of his "team-mate" Contador in Armstrong's comeback Tour. Hamilton's assessment that Armstrong had the UCI and the Tour in his pocket is very telling. Given what has happened since publication, I would say Hamilton is pretty much spot on.

If I have one criticism, it's that after reading The Secret Race, all other cycling books pale in comparison.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Eye-opener, 13 Jun 2013
I was initially reluctant to give money to a self-confessed doper, but in the end a combination of a price drop and my curiosity got the better of me and I am so glad that it did. A great read for any cycling fan and gives a real insight into the extent to which doping dominated the sport, and the normality with which it was treated. Hamilton comes across as a slightly weak person in awe of more dominant personalities, particularly Lance Armstrong who really looks to be a complete scumbag. The best chapters are the last 100 or so pages dealing with the time after Hamilton told the truth about doping (he gives credit to Floyd Landis for starting this) and the battle to be believed against Armstrong's legal onslaught.

Highly recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in sport, 11 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs (Paperback)
This book reveals not only the messy drug practices of cycling in the past but more interestingly the characters of key players. Not only Armstrong as a villain but a charismatic leader.
Runs out of steam slightly at the end.
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