This is one of the best books I have come across in recent years. On the surface it is an honest account of what it is like to be a pro cyclist. Below that there ar many aspects of this story that are disturbing and thought provoking.
What would you do if your choice were to dope like everyone else, or quit your job and start over? It gives a true account of the power of drugs in athletic performance and how being clean means going home.
On another level, it causes one to question the media and the accounts we hear in the press. While Paul Sherwin and Bob Roll were telling one story of what was going on at the Tour de France, Tyler lets you know what was really happening. The stories are so different it makes one wonder about the accuracy of the press in general. One would have thought that a conspiracy of such magnitude would be impossble to keep under wraps.
The oher aspect that is fascinating is how all this comes together through the self-organization of all the players involved. There no one person orchestrating the whole thing. It is merely the alignment of the self interest of all the parties involved, the UCI, the riders, the teams, and the media.
Don't read this unless you are prepared to spend many hours pondering these questions and thinking about how we would behave in similar circumstances. It is easy to be moral when you do not have so much at stake.
Tyler Hamilton relates a compelling history of how a basically honest person got trapped into a web of lies and deceit. While the book provides insight into Armstrong's history of doping and evasion, the book really focuses on how pervasive it was within the sport. It explains the edge that doping gave the athletes ... but also showed how hard they still had to work.
This book is not for the faint of heart, many parts of the book made me squeamish ... the things the athletes did to dope their blood were really quite gruesome.
My favorite part was at the end during the Sixty Minutes interview when Tyler explains why he got caught up in doping by asking the interviewer what he would do if he had to choose between doping and giving up the sport.
It was vey detailed. I am bias towards Lance so it is difficult to write the review. They gave a lot of details and convincing evidence.
One of Daniel Coyles better books
Very good reader!
It made me angry and sad
I support Lance
Only my second book but with athletics being close to my heart, the best so far.
Being a competitive triathlete I particularly enjoyed the story during the gritty details of intense racing.
The encounter between Tyler and Lance on the bike after Tyler was told by Floyd Landis of Lance squealing to authorities.
Hey Lance, burn any bridges lately?
I knew there were dopers in professional cycling, but until I read this book I never knew it was basically all the professional cyclists that were doping. So glad Tyler had the courage to tell his story. This tell all story needed to come out so the sport can hopefully be cleaned up. Can't believe I supported and believed in Lance all those years. The truth hurts but it so desperately needed to come out. Thanks Tyler!
No, his voice did not fit the main character in my opinion. Tyler was gritty and no nonsense. The reader was more formal and stuffy.
A resounding yes. Because the truth about about Pro Cycling must be laid bare so all of us who've enjoyed it over the years can continue to do so. While we were all enthralled by the feats of Tyler Hamilton, Lance Armstrong and many others at the time, it's now impossible to go back and watch replays of those years without a very sour taste in the mouth. This book gives one the feeling that Pro Cycling is capable of redemption.
Hero: Tyler Hamilton Villian: Lance Armstrong
From Tyler Hamilton, through Danial Coyle, through Sean Runnette's reading, I could hear Tyler Hamilton. I think that testifies to greatness all the way through. There will never be another Frank Muller, but Sean was great.
This is one of the best books I've heard this year.
I liked the insight into what was actually going on, and how athletes prepare for competition. I've been a Tour fan for about 15 years, and I finally feel like I have some understanding of what these athletes must do both mentally and physically to be contenders.
My favorite scene was during Hamilton's first Tour de France. I watched that race, and it was incredible to relive it from the inside out.
I was moved (to anger) by the way to other doping athletes treated Tyler Hamilton after his bust.
Boy, did I learn a lot, not just about racing strategy, but about physiology and the formulas for peak performance.
Yes, I have told many friends to read it. It was full of great info on the races that Hamilton raced in, and how the doping was implemented by most professional racers.
When I found out that Lance Armstrong actually reported Tyler Hamilton for beating him in a race, when they were BOTH doping, not just Hamilton!
Self made, independent deep thinker, who never follows blindly just because you told me to! Man for others...
We all knew these elite athletes were pushing hard to the edge of what human beings could do naturally but this story goes beyond just Tyler's experiences and he explain the Cycling industry's need to look the other way in order for everyone to continue to make the money! Yet again the root of all evil - money! What will we do to get it, what lies will we allow ourselves to believe, and who really has the strength to say when enough is enough. We all know NFL and college football players are taking things to increase their size and strength! We have seen baseball players doing it and now cyclists. Its been going on in the Olympics for years so why don't we just allow it all and call it okay instead of looking the other way and pretending its not going on. Are we really harming people by doing this? I am sure there are people who are getting sick from doing this and some that even will die but death should be the reason to stop pushing the limits of what humans can do. We are a chemical world - better living through chemistry, right? If this was truly about the sporting event itself would we see aerodynamic bikes for time trials and carbon fiber this and that on every bike. This book dives deep into the world from Tyler's perspective and how winning becomes the only thing no matter the cost because being second is merely the first loser and there is no money for being second is there? The connection to a perceived hero in Lance Armstrong just highlights the willingness to do whatever it takes to be number one and just how much money can be achieved if you can be number one several times. But we need to step back and ask, at what cost? As a cyclist, triathlete, weekend warrior who battles my waistline, I am sure if this was my profession I would most likely be right there with all of these guys trying to earn my salary and looking for that advantage. The book made me stop and think about what is my definition of performance enhancing is and what it means to be healthy and what I might do to improve, achieve, and be with the competition at the top. Giving myself cancer is not my idea of success but if your only way to earn a living has become riding a bike then maybe I would follow Lance and Tyler down this long road. Is Tyler lucky and Lance the one we should feel for?
I believe this is just a small part of the growing trend to do whatever it takes to make huge money no matter who it hurts. Chemical companies back these events and we wonder why. Are you that naive? Did the LiveStong foundation take birth out of doping? But we just keep on living without thinking about the cost of what is happening. Making money is the game and the more you make the more success you have the more people want a piece of the action.
Great book as it made me think about foundations, cancer, racing, winning, and values.
This book just shows the power and corruption in big sports. I feel sorry for athletes who lose sight of racing for the pure sport of it. But humans will do whatever it takes to achieve despite our values.
I enjoyed reading this book. An alternative title could be "It's Not About the Lance." :-) That's a joke. The book is mostly about Lance Armstrong.
I'm taking off one star because criminals shouldn't profit from writing books about their crimes. (Such laws are called "Son of Sam laws.") Hamilton wasn't convicted of any crimes because the criminal investigation was dropped, apparently due to political pressure from Lance Armstrong. Still, if Hamilton were contrite about his confessed crimes he would donate his share of the book royalties to a charity.
I'm taking another star off for the audiobook reader. Sean Runnette's voice seethes contrition. Again, if Hamilton were contrite he would have read the book himself. Instead, an actor who's good at sounding contrite read it. I'm left with the suspicion that all the contrite parts were written by the ghostwriter, and that Hamilton doesn't feel so bad about his crimes.