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
For cycling fans this is a MUST READ. For those unfamiliar with this crazy sport the book provides enough background to make sense but the level of detail may be a bit much. The Secret Race is sometimes deeply sad, sometimes wildly humorous, sometimes riveting but always interesting. Coyle does a fine job. The quality of the writing is very high and he at least appears to have done a more than adequate job of fact checking. Although Runnette's voice seems inappropriate at first, he adds a level of sincerity that makes the story that much more believable. Like Tyler or not, this book adds perspective and detail to make sense of the whole doping situation in cycling. It's sad and unfortunate and far from black and white. An excellent read.
very interesting listen
This story answered all of the questions about doping in bike races and how they get away with it.
I have never been a bike person but have always respected the athleticism of those who are. This is an very interesting story about how they have to cheat to compete and how they get away with it. I loved listening to this book.
A well written account of cycling, the desire to compete and how the rules were twisted.
I now understand how it all works and how easy it is to love something so much you are willing to risk all. Now I wonder what other sports use these techniques.
It's time for us to all clean up our sport - and this is brutal dose of reality that anyone who loves the bike must read/listen.Great story, chapeau to Tyler for telling us the truth.
The honest, detailed story of the madness that was professional cycling during over the last 15 years.
I've never been a huge fan of cycling, but I've loosely followed it over the years. This look behind the curtains of cycling was fascinating, not just for the connection to the scandal that is currently unfolding in the public, but also for the details of what it is like to be at the top of a sport. The training, the stress, the traveling. The complete and utter dedication these athletes have to the sport.
I was glad to be able to experience the insight into this story as the public version was also unfolding. All of the players in the public scene are touched on in the book. However, it was obvious that editing of the book was skimped on in order to get it out in time. There were several repetitive passages and some less polished sections.
Overall, a very interesting and timely book. Recommended.
I really enjoyed the story and was shocked by the behavior of the cyclists. If you think Armstrong is innocent, you must listen to this book. It is not a bitter tale, it is more a recounting of facts. Hamilton wants to tell the story because the truth lifts a burden from his soul.
I did not like the narrator. His inflection was "off" at times and I found it difficult to listen to him. If the story had not been so captivating, I wouldn't have listened.
I'm a lifetime athlete but only moderately interested in biking but have read everything on Armstrong since the first allegations of doping. I gave Armstrong the benefit of the doubt and even bought into some of the witch hunt conspiracy theories BEFORE this book. There is so much detail on how it was done that 1) I cannot believe Hamilton and others could have made up this story 2) you can see how the European system and bike mania there could allow or even facilitate this happening.
It helps to know a little about bike racing but it is not required to enjoy this book that is part biography and part expose.
One start off for the narrator who at times sounded lethargic. If you are familiar with the sound and cadence of the "Ketchup" commercials on Prairie Home Companion...he sometimes sounded like that.
Brisk read/listen; you'll find yourself in the driveway not wanting to turn it off.
I enjoyed how open Tyler Hamilton was in telling us about the secret world of professional cycling. He didn't space a single detail or a single name in telling us about his years on the tour.
It reminded me of Andre Agassi's "Open," another very honest, no-holds-barred sports autobiography. I thoroughly enjoyed both.
Tyler, of course. You feel for him and understand the struggles that he had to go through.
It's pretty long to listen to all in one sitting, but I was always looking forward to getting back into my car to hear the next chapter.
If you're thinking of buying this book to get the inside scoop on Lance Armstrong, the book will not disappoint.
Tyler's story is very interesting and believable. I am a cyclist and hope that the sport learns from prior events. I want to see good competition, fair competition regardless of speed of the peliton.
Narration wasn't the best for my ears. The way he says words makes it difficult to understand.
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