- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Books (September 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0593071743
- ISBN-13: 978-0593071748
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1,245 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,918,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Secret Race: Inside the Secret World of the Tour de France - Doping, Cover-Ups, and Winning at All Costs Paperback – September 1, 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 20120916 "The broadest, most accessible look at cycling's drug problem to date." New York Times 20120911 "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 20120831 "Astonishingly candid... an extraordinary confessional." -- Matt Dickinson The Times 20120907 "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 20121012
About the Author
Tyler Hamilton is a former professional bike racer, Olympic gold medalist, and NCAA champion. He raced professionally from 1995 to 2008 and now runs his own company, Tyler Hamilton Training, in Boulder, Colorado.Daniel Coyle is the Sunday Times bestselling author of Lance Armstrong: Tour de Force and The Talent Code. He lives with his wife and four children in Homer, Alaska, and Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Top customer reviews
- First, the co-author, Daniel Coyle, knows his way around pro bike racing. He wrote Lance Armstrong's War: One Man's Battle Against Fate, Fame, Love, Death, Scandal, and a Few Other Rivals on the Road to the Tour de France, and his experience shows. More than just a story about Hamilton, "The Secret Race" weaves in all the significant doping scandals of the past 15 years. Although the publicity surrounding this book is driven by the interest in Lance Armstrong, the book exposes a sport-wide culture where doping was expected and the infrastructure to support it was easily accessible to the best riders.
- Second, the level of prosaic detail adds credibility. It's more than just a chronicle of what drugs were taken -- but also detail on how they worked; how they were concealed; how tests were beaten; the logistics of getting to and from the doping doctors; and the strategy of timing blood doping sessions to correspond with key stages of big races. Hamilton even details the bonus schedule he paid to his doping doctors for each major victory. Although I've read previous books on the topic, I was still surprised by the intensity of doping activities outlined here. It's the difference between having the story told by "outsiders" (investigators, journalists, team assistants) vs. "insiders" (someone like Hamilton who is finally willing to tell the story).
- Third, Hamilton's own personal story is believable. He helps explain why bike racers decide to dope, why lying about it becomes so central to their day to day lives, and what it takes to turn the corner and start telling the truth. The co-author's key challenge in this book is to make the reader accept the story of someone who lied for so long, and inevitably we have to wonder, "He lied then, is he telling the truth now?" The context provided here allows the reader to make that leap.
Two other individuals are worth mentioning. The first is David Walsh, the London Times journalist who wrote, From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France, which outlined way back in 2007 what was happening inside pro racing during the "Lance Armstrong era." None of the recent doping scandals has been a real surprise to anyone who read Walsh's book. "The Secret Race" has a lot more detail, since it's told by a true insider, but without David Walsh, Paul Kimmage and a few others continuing to tell this story the facts likely would have never come out (One thing that's clear from "The Secret Race" is that the sport's governing body, the UCI, was never going to blow the whistle on itself).
[Nov. 2012 update: David Walsh's stories that laid out the original allegations against Lance Armstrong have just been released in a Kindle edition, Lanced: The shaming of Lance Armstrong, and coming soon is his new e-book, Seven Deadly Sins ]
The second person to mention is Andy Hampsten, another American cycling hero whose 1988 ride in the Tour of Italy is still legendary. Hampsten was competing at the top level of international cycling before the EPO era but then found himself out-muscled by back-of-the-pack competitors who suddenly transformed themselves, turbocharged by EPO and blood transfusions. For anyone who thinks that it's OK to excuse continuing coverups because "it was a level playing field; they all doped," it's worth reading Andy Hampsten's quotes:
"In the mid eighties, when I came up, riders were doping but it was still possible to compete with them...bottom line, a clean rider could compete in the big three-week races. EPO changed everything...all of a sudden whole teams were ragingly fast, all of a sudden I was struggling to make time limits. By 1994, I'd be on climbs, working as hard as I've ever worked, producing exactly the same power, at the same weight, and right alongside me would be these big-assed guys, and they'd be chatting like were were on the flats! It was completely crazy. As the 1996 season went by...everybody knew what was up, everybody was talking about EPO, everybody could see the writing on the wall."
Hampsten retired from pro bike racing at that time. Other racers made a different decision, and signed up for in-depth doping regimes; their story is told here. To believe that anyone raced clean and then won the Tour de France 7 times in a row at the height of the doping era seems to defy reality. To use a term repeated often in "The Secret Race," it would have to be "extraterrestrial."
When the news broke that the USADA was going to take away all seven of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France wins, I thought it was unfair. At this point I knew he probably taken doping products, but I still thought it was water under the bridge and time to move forward. Not after reading Hamilton and Coyle's book! There are just too many details in the book about the teams, the conversations, the locations, and the methods of doping for it all to be a lie. There are also too many current or former cyclists coming out to confess about their doping in that era.
I no longer see Hamilton or Armstrong in the same light after reading this book. I almost understand how a cyclist like Hamilton had to cheat in order to even survive in the pro peloton. Some refused too, and ended up retiring because they could no longer compete. Perhaps we all would have done the same given the situation. I also see more than ever how arrogant Armstrong was, and still is. And, yes, now I completely feel the USADA is 100% justified in taking away Lance's 7 Tour de France wins.
Finally, I think Hamilton is brave to publish this book. There is still a lot of pressure on former cyclist to keep the secret race just that... a secret. Hamilton has broken through the silence and shown the rest of the world the truth about cycling.
If you have any doubts, read the book yourself. It will open your eyes.
I found Tylers' book very well written and easy to read. You can tell right away his ulterior motive is to set himself free from the effects living a double life have had on him. Of course he is no fan of Lance Armstrong but it doesn't come off as him being vindictive. In a way you can tell he feels sorry for Lance and the others who continue to live the lie.
The minute, comprehensive details in this book and the authors credibility leave no doubt to the reader as to what happens in the pro peloton. It is an amazingly quick read, one I couldn't put down and one I will never forget. Than you Tyler for being corageous enough to write this book.