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
I normally spread my listening of a book out over a few weeks but the honest, detailed and shocking story that is told meant that I got through it in less than two days.
The book gives an exceptionally good sense of how riding and doping at the professional level worked. The detail about the relationship between riders, doctors and the UCI provides a compelling story about what made professional cycling tick.
For fun I'd suggest you listen to Armstrong's It's Not About The Bike and then listen to this book. The image Lance portrays of himself in the former and the picture painted of him by Tyler could not be more different.
This audio book was eye opening, well written, well read, and clear to those who are not involved in the cycling sport. Fantastic! Could not stop listening once I started.
The sheer honesty through out the entire book. So human with so much emotion. So real and yet so unbelievable.
The detail and description he was able to recount in his recount of personal stories.
Yes.....both. Absolutely amazing.....felt like I was in this world of cycling with Tyler.
A must listen!
For those of us who followed pro cycling before the Lance Armstrong era, it was great to have another American to root for after Greg LeMond. Everyone who followed cycling knew Lance was a jerk and crybaby but gave him a pass, especially after overcoming cancer.
Something seemed strange when after years and years of result times that were relatively stable across cycling, suddenly result times were being smashed- especially by the U S Postal Service team headed by Armstrong. But most everyone wanted to continue to give him a pass. Now that doping rules are more stringently enforced, result times are going back to more "normal" ranges that existed before the 90's.
Now, with Hamilton's book, we get a glimpse of how Armstrong (and others) managed to pull it off year after year.
This is one of the best books I have listened to in a VERY long time!! The history itself is so fascinating it beats every piece of fiction out there. It is a secret world that Hamilton reveals and it feels as if he tells us everything. He paints a truly scary but also a sad portrait of Armstrong but he also openly tells of all his own mistakes - the rules he broke and the lies he told. The mindblowing accounts of the extent to which systematic doping took place and the methods applied is one part of it but the tales of the races, the tactics and the intrigues are almost equally interesting. During the beginning of the book I became more and more sceptical towards cycling but later on I found myself being curious and intrigued. I have never understood how some people can spend so much time following bike races but I might just tune in to the next tour de France!
Tyler and Dan "opened the kimono" on pro cycling, the peloton and Lance in this one. It is all here, what they did, how they did it, why the tests don't matter, the corruption and how they kept it all quite. Hamilton focuses the story on himself and his misgivings and also on his teammates (namely Lance) and the organizations that make it all possible. He names names, places and tactics.
What was most surprising to me is not that these guys were doping and getting away with it, but how big of a bully Lance is. I never thought of Lance as a perfect saint or the devil incarnate. I figured him for a driven guy who liked to win and liked to try and help the cause (cancer support) that he is so passionate about. I could get behind that. What I can't accept is how he has railroaded so many people and sullied their reputations because they told the truth. In this sense, he is worse than a cheater.
Give this one a listen and decide for yourself.
A very well written account from the professional life of Tyler Hamilton. A must, even if you're disgusted by the all the lies.
An avid listener of audiobooks.
The overall story is gripping. I couldn't stop listening to it even though I knew much of the back-story. As a cycling fan, Tyler's story opened my eyes to many of the fears I've had throughout the last 15+ years.
Tyler, Lance, Floyd and the peloton.
Sean's reading of the book was excellent and captured the appropriate drama.
This book is a real inside look at pro cycling. It's a sad tale of the temptations — perhaps irresistible — to do whatever it takes to be part of that world. Tyler is pretty hard on himself, so it's very believable. It's filled with too many small details to be totally made up.If you care about pro cycling, this is a great book. I couldn't stop listening. It's a bit like a train wreck: You can't not look. If you don't care about pro cycling, you'll be bored to death. (Ask my wife, I played it in the car on a trip.)The reader does a very creditable job. He didn't get in the way and let the story be the star, as he should have.
When Hamilton succumbed to temptation and started doping.
We see athletes, especially extreme athletes, as somohow more than human, but the truth is they are just as flawed.
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.
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