(Last Updated On: August 12, 2013)
Title: The Secret Race
Author: Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
The Secret Race is the story of former professional road bike racer Tyler Hamilton and his inside look at the world of cycling and in particular, doping in cycling. Hamilton won the gold medal in the 2004 Olympics, but shortly thereafter was found guilty of doping and for all intents and purposes, his career ended there.
The book was published last fall, when Lance Armstrong was still vehemently denying that he had ever used performance-enhancing drugs en route to his Tour de France victories. After reading this book, it’s hard for me to believe that anyone would doubt the veracity of the accounts in this book- it would have been too hard to make it all up. In other words, this book, not Lance’s partial admittance on Oprah, should have ended any doubt as to whether or not Lance Armstrong was a doper.
I have to admit that I didn’t know a whole lot about bike racing before Lance Armstrong. I have a vague memory of watching a stage on Vail Pass of the old Coors Classic, and I remember the movie American Flyers, mostly because both were in my home state of Colorado. But with Lance, I was glued to the TV, along with all my roomates, screaming at the top of our lungs when Lance gave Jan Ullrich “the look” and sped away from his chief rival. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was all a farce. Many of the riders were doping. Perhaps even most of them. Some people say “So what, everyone was doping, so it was all fair.” But the best teams had the best doping programs, and every body reacts differently to a doping regimen, so the winners are really those who react best to a good doping program.
Tyler Hamilton lays all of this out within his book. I always wondered how they all got away with it for so long when they were constantly being tested- turns out it wasn’t very hard at all… Just as interestingly, Tyler talks about his slow slide from clean rider to doper- I for one cannot really fault him, not when so much fame and money were on the line. It started off with one little pill, he didn’t go from clean rider to lying in bed watching blood transfusions overnight.
In short, this was a great book. I devoured it pretty quickly, right after the end of this year’s Tour de France. Yes, I still watch- rather religiously I might add. It was another great race, but I must admit that while watching it, I couldn’t help but think that there was a high likelihood that Chris Froome was doping. Even more so after reading The Secret Race. Even so, I’ll still watch next year.