Over the course of two years, Coyle conducted more than 200 hours of interviews with Hamilton and spoke candidly with numerous teammates, rivals, and friends. The result is an explosive book that takes us, for the first time, deep inside a shadowy, fascinating, and surreal world of unscrupulous doctors, anything-goes team directors, and athletes so relentlessly driven to succeed that they would do anything—and take any risk, physical, mental, or moral—to gain the edge they needed to win.
Tyler Hamilton was once one of the world’s best-liked and top-ranked cyclists—a fierce competitor renowned among his peers for his uncanny endurance and epic tolerance for pain. In the 2003 Tour de France, he finished fourth despite breaking his collarbone in the early stages—and grinding 11 of his teeth down to the nerves along the way. He started his career with the U.S. Postal Service team in the 1990s and quickly rose to become Lance Armstrong’s most trusted lieutenant and a member of his inner circle.
For the first three of Armstrong’s record seven Tour de France victories, Hamilton was by Armstrong’s side, clearing his way. But just weeks after Hamilton reached his own personal pinnacle—winning the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics—his career came to a sudden, ignominious end: He was found guilty of doping and exiled from the sport.
From the exhilaration of his early, naïve days in the peloton, Hamilton chronicles his ascent to the uppermost reaches of this unforgiving sport. In the mid-1990s, the advent of a powerful new blood-boosting drug called EPO reshaped the world of cycling, and a relentless, win-at-any-cost ethos took root. Its psychological toll would drive many of the sport’s top performers to substance abuse, depression, even suicide. For the first time ever, Hamilton recounts his own battle with clinical depression, speaks frankly about the agonizing choices that go along with the decision to compete at a world-class level, and tells the story of his complicated relationship with Lance Armstrong.
A journey into the heart of a never-before-seen world, The Secret Race is a riveting, courageous act of witness from a man who is as determined to reveal the hard truth about his sport as he once was to win the Tour de France.
©2012 Tyler Hamilton & Daniel Coyle (P)2012 Random House
Not what I expected. It's Better!
I have followed Tyler's career and have been a fan. I've had the pleasure of meeting him briefly in a promo event. His book is both insightful and a joy to read. It made me laugh a few times and made me pause as well. I am an avid cyclist and often wondered what it would be like to compete at the highest levels. Now I have some perspective. If I was faced with the same dilemma, I would have made the same decision as Tyler. This is an uplifting story that thankfully, Tyler had the courage to tell. Daniel Coyle kept it moving forward and always interesting. I followed the races on TV and now I know a bit of what went on leading up to the races and the drama in the peloton. It lets us understand the suffering and the pain that these guys endure to get to the end of The Tour. There are no bad guys in this life story. Tyler and Daniel are a great team. I wish the story was longer.
Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.
I bought this book because lies fascinate me. Liars too. Cyclists - not so much. That probably has a lot to do with my lukewarm enjoyment of this book.
My other problem was as follows: Either I'm nuts or Tyler Hamilton truly believes that his being a loving person (lots of time spent on how much he loves his folks, his wife, his teammates and the world) means he can do the exact same thing as Lance Armstrong for the very same reasons and not be guilty of the same crime. I'm mystified by this. Also annoyed.
But perhaps Tyler is just being a good domestique. For me, this book has made Lance's lack of apology look far more appealing. In that respect, well done.
As a recent cycling convert, I started idolizing Lance Armstrong 5 years ago. Before he "came out with it" I believed his denial of all the allegations. I initially started this book with much skepticism. By the end I "got it". I'm now a Tyler Hamilton fan. I truly wish the professional cycling world would do a reset and let these guys back into the sport, clean of course.
It doesn't get more interesting than this for a Pro Racing Fan. Tyler has a great memory and tells all. His background information on the doping scandals of the past couple of decades are even beyond what I've seen posted on cycling websites such as Velo News. Although, I read enough there to believe what I heard in this book.
What sounded to be complete answers to all the controversy was like solving a mystery. As a recreational cyclist, who has mainly done touring. I haven't endured serious competition or the dilemmas he faced. Better to do it from an armchair! All his social support from friends helped him, both to have a career, and to deal with the consequences. It was hard to believe that he wasn't more bitter given all the difficulty. He has an exceptional personality and character.
The most telling scene to me is when Floyd Landis explains why Tyler Hamilton was called in by the UCI, which Tyler said was an unusual request. Tyler had won a difficult stage in one of the run-up races to the Tour de France, I think the Dauphne, and he had defeated Lance Armstrong. All the difficult situations discussed in the book were probably excellent learning tools for him in learning about life, but I sort of liked the portion of the book when he switched teams from the one managed by Bjarne Riis. Tyler said he believed he might win the tour as a solo leader with a well financed team. What happens during this Tour approaches being the awful. A lot of fans were very impressed with Tyler's ability to gut it out. He was famous for finishing the Tour de France with a broken collarbone, if nothing else, which is one of the injuries he gives an account of in this book. I hadn't heard about his injury in the Giro (the Tour of Italy).
The title of this book is very good. Life in a Vise, Tyler Hamilton's Triumphs and Ordeals.
One of the most interesting books I've read.
This is an inspirational story about the importance of truth. I adored everything about it. Sure, you learn to hate the sport for what it forces cyclists to do. Tyler & Daniel delve deeply into the trouble world of modern cycling and don't hold back anything about the EPO riddled world that it unveils.
It is so good that I wanted more. Which is always a good thing.
Yes, to anyone in sport particularly cyclists
Tyler paints Lance Armstrong as a bully with a pathological need to win races.
Hamilton, Coyle and Runnette draw the listner into the narrow world of professional cycling where lives are devoted to the sport, sacrifice is the norm and the margin between the podium and back-of-the pack is 5%. The question is "what would you do" if you were them and you defined your self-worth by race results?
This book was engaging and very enlightening about the world of professional cycling. Hamilton took a gutsy no-holds-barred approach to telling the stories in the book, which I really appreciated.It was sometimes hard to hear what he had to say about Lance Armstrong because I really admired Lance for his accomplishments. I watched all 7 of his tour-winning campaigns and he gave me a great sense of pride.Looking back it's hard to believe everybody was so naive about Lance, but I guess we all wanted to believe in miracles. And it's completely true that all of the other tour contenders were taking performance-enhancing drugs, so Lance was not alone in that respect.In fact, I don't fault Lance for taking the drugs because it still took a huge amount of hard work sacrifice and guts to win 7 tours in a row. He is am amazing athlete with extreme determination and will power, and he put in the countless hours of very hard work day after day to win. I still admire him for that...I probably always will.But I now despise Lance Armstrong as a PERSON because he viciously attacked people who told the truth about him, drug them through the mud, cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and ruined careers. To make matters worse, he was extremely smug and condescending while he did it.Lance proved time and time again that he only cared about himself and felt he was above the law...and he still does to an extent. He is now learning what it feels like to be on the other end of everything, and things are just going to get worse. His confession was too little too late, and I'm actually enjoying seeing him lose virtually everything he had built up over the years. I guess the old adage is true...what goes around comes around.I realize that is a bit vicious to say. Heck, I'm a actually a bit surprised I feel that way because my past admiration for Lance was so strong that I almost idolized the guy. However, after you listen to this book (and read numerous other accounts that are now coming out about what Lance is really like), then I hazard to say that you might feel the same way about Lance as a person. Anybody who treats people as poorly and viciously as he did has to have a very, very dark soul.Anyway, the book is an excellent listen and I highly recommend it. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars across the board is because it is a bit slow and long-winded at times. However, overall I was engrossed by the book and I enjoyed it immensely...even though it burst my bubble about Lance.
Tyler was very open and honest about coming clean with everything, and he even threw himself under the bus in the process. He doesn't tiptoe around the subject, which is very refreshing.
My favorite part of the book was when Tyler was on the same team as Lance as was taken into Lance's inner circle of doping. It was very enlightening and interesting.
Tyler seems to be very honest and humble -- I enjoyed listening to his perspective.
I had always been a supporter and fan of our national hero Lance Armstrong, who supposedly never failed a drug test. This book will lay that to rest, and get you real acquainted with the man. NOT a nice guy. A real jerk, actually. This book is an amazing window inside the world of top-elite international cycling. Its timing was unfortunate: it came out just a month or two before USADA Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of his 7 Tour de France titles and banned him from the sport for life (incl. his new sport, triathaloning), supported by 11,000 pages of documents, receipts for EPO and testosterone, and testimony of 11 of his teammates. He has been abandoned by all his corporate sponsors, including Nike. Hamilton,the author, tells how he himself got "popped" after winning the Gold Medal in the Olympics. The hack doctor he was using mixed up his blood with someone else's in a transfusion. The cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game he and his wife played with blood testers to escape detection when he was "glowing" will amaze you. Mr. Armstrong remains defiant and proclaiming his innocence, but now has a $30 or $40 million legal problem: that's how much the U.S. Government (Postal Service) and his corporate sponsors are coming after him for for fraud.
I think this book is a must read on the topic of pro cycling in the Lance era. Regardless of his motives for writing it, it's an important perspective. I couldn't put it down.
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