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The Secret Race
Cover of The Secret Race
The Secret Race
Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France
"The holy grail for disillusioned cycling fans . . . The book's power is in the collective details, all strung together in a story that is told with such clear-eyed conviction that you never doubt its veracity. . . . The Secret Race isn't just a game changer for the Lance Armstrong myth. It's the game ender."—Outside

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
The Secret Race is the book that rocked the world of professional cycling—and exposed, at long last, the doping culture surrounding the sport and its most iconic rider, Lance Armstrong. Former Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton was once one of the world's top-ranked cyclists—and a member of Lance Armstrong's inner circle. Over the course of two years, New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle conducted more than two hundred hours of interviews with Hamilton and spoke with numerous teammates, rivals, and friends. The result is an explosive page-turner of a book that takes us deep inside a shadowy, fascinating, and surreal world of unscrupulous doctors, anything-goes team directors, and athletes so relentlessly driven to win that they would do almost anything to gain an edge. For the first time, Hamilton recounts his own battle with depression and tells the story of his complicated relationship with Lance Armstrong. This edition features a new Afterword, in which the authors reflect on the developments within the sport, and involving Armstrong, over the past year. The Secret Race is a courageous, groundbreaking 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.

With a new Afterword by the authors.

"Loaded with bombshells and revelations."—VeloNews
"[An] often harrowing story . . . the broadest, most accessible look at cycling's drug problems to date."—The New York Times

" 'If I cheated, how did I get away with it?' That question, posed to SI by Lance Armstrong five years ago, has never been answered more definitively than it is in Tyler Hamilton's new book."—Sports Illustrated

"Explosive."—The Daily Telegraph (London)
"The holy grail for disillusioned cycling fans . . . The book's power is in the collective details, all strung together in a story that is told with such clear-eyed conviction that you never doubt its veracity. . . . The Secret Race isn't just a game changer for the Lance Armstrong myth. It's the game ender."—Outside

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
The Secret Race is the book that rocked the world of professional cycling—and exposed, at long last, the doping culture surrounding the sport and its most iconic rider, Lance Armstrong. Former Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton was once one of the world's top-ranked cyclists—and a member of Lance Armstrong's inner circle. Over the course of two years, New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle conducted more than two hundred hours of interviews with Hamilton and spoke with numerous teammates, rivals, and friends. The result is an explosive page-turner of a book that takes us deep inside a shadowy, fascinating, and surreal world of unscrupulous doctors, anything-goes team directors, and athletes so relentlessly driven to win that they would do almost anything to gain an edge. For the first time, Hamilton recounts his own battle with depression and tells the story of his complicated relationship with Lance Armstrong. This edition features a new Afterword, in which the authors reflect on the developments within the sport, and involving Armstrong, over the past year. The Secret Race is a courageous, groundbreaking 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.

With a new Afterword by the authors.

"Loaded with bombshells and revelations."—VeloNews
"[An] often harrowing story . . . the broadest, most accessible look at cycling's drug problems to date."—The New York Times

" 'If I cheated, how did I get away with it?' That question, posed to SI by Lance Armstrong five years ago, has never been answered more definitively than it is in Tyler Hamilton's new book."—Sports Illustrated

"Explosive."—The Daily Telegraph (London)
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    I've got a pretty good poker face; Lance has a great one. But there's one guy who's better than either of us: Johan Bruyneel. And it was never so well used as that night at the end of the 2000 Dauphiné, when he told me about the plans for the blood transfusion. I'd heard about transfusions before, but it was always theoretical and distant--as in, can you believe that some guys actually bank their blood, then put it back in before a race? It seemed weird, Frankenstein- ish, something for Iron Curtain Olympic androids in the eighties. But Johan, when he explained the plan during the Dauphiné, made it sound normal, even boring. He's good at making the outrageous sound normal--it might be his greatest skill. It's something in his expression, in the certainty of his big Belgian voice, in the supremely casual way he shrugs while laying out the details of the plan. Whenever I watch the likable gangsters on The Sopranos, I think of Johan.

    As Johan explained it, Lance, Kevin, and I would fly to Valencia. We would donate a bag of blood, which would be stored, and we'd fl y home the next day. Then, at a key point during the Tour, we'd put the bag back in, and we'd get a boost. It would be like taking EPO, except better: there were rumors of an EPO test being developed for the 2000 Olympics, and word was, they might be using the test during the Tour. I listened to Johan, nodded, gave him my poker face. When I told Haven about it, she gave me the poker face right back (wives get good at it, too). But part of me was thinking, What the hell?

    Maybe that's why I was late the Tuesday morning we left for Valencia. There was no reason to be late--everybody knew Lance despised lateness above all things--but on that crucial morning we were running late by a full ten minutes. I raced our little Fiat through the narrow streets of Villefranche; Haven was hanging on to the oh-shit bars, asking me to slow down. I kept speeding up. It was eight miles to the airport in Nice. During the trip, my cell phone rang three times. Lance.

    Dude, where are you?

    What's going on? We're about to take off.
    How fast can that fucking car of yours go? Come on!

    We screeched into the airport parking lot; I walked through the security area and onto the runway. I'd never been on a private jet before, so I took in the scene: the leather seats, the television, the little fridge, the steward asking me if I would like anything to drink.

    Lance acted casual, as if private jets were routine--which for him, they were. He'd been riding them fairly constantly since the previous July, courtesy of Nike, Oakley, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and the other corporations who were competing for the privilege of ferrying him around. The numbers were unbelievable. USA Today estimated Lance's income at $7.5 million, he was getting paid $100,000 per speech, and his new memoir, It's Not About the Bike, was an instant best seller. You could feel the flow of money, the new possibilities it opened. Now we didn't have to drive to Valencia. We didn't have to worry about customs or airport security. The jet, like everything else, was now part of our tool box.

    The engines revved, the wheels went up, and we were airborne. Below, we could see the Côte d'Azur, the mansions, the yachts; it felt surreal, like a fantasy world. In the plane, my lateness was forgiven. Lance was confident, happy, excited, and it was contagious. The confident feeling increased when we landed in Valencia and were met on the runway by the Postal team: Johan, Pepe Martí, and del Moral. They showed up with sandwiches, bocadillos--it was important to have a...

About the Author-
  • Tyler Hamilton is a former professional bike racer, Olympic gold medalist, and NCAA champion. He raced professionally from 1995 to 2008 and now runs his own company, Tyler Hamilton Training LLC, in Boulder, Colorado. He lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife, Lindsay, and his dog, Tanker.

    Daniel Coyle is the New York Times bestselling author of Lance Armstrong's War and The Talent Code. He lives with his wife and four children in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and Homer, Alaska.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2012
    With the assistance of Coyle (Lance Armstrong's War, 2005, etc.), Olympic gold medalist and former professional cyclist Hamilton dishes the dirt on the clandestine culture of doping so endemic to his sport. "I'm good at pain," writes the author, who was a longtime U.S. Postal cycling squad teammate of Lance Armstrong. Readers soon learn that this addiction to pain is an absolute requirement to survive his pressure-cooker life as a professional cyclist, a masochistic existence that makes the physical risks run in sports like football and pro boxing look trivial. Hamilton's story is also partly the story of once-revered cycling celeb (and now disgraced doper) Armstrong, as the two were rivals for years. Hamilton chronicles the entire rise-and-fall arc of his professional career, going from his beginnings as a clean-living anti-doping idealist in the early 1990s to becoming a slave to the intense competitive pressure to ingest a chemical smorgasbord of performance-enhancing substances just to keep up with everyone else. Any notions of cycling as a clean sport go out the window immediately. Hamilton's unsparing account of the damaging (and often dope-fueled) physical and mental toll that top-level cycling takes on its practitioners, not to mention the constant pressure to evade drug testers and beat the drug tests themselves, is a decidedly bleak and unglamorous portrait of the sporting life. For Hamilton, compounding this maniacal all-or-nothing quest for victory was the fact that he had to constantly deal with Armstrong, who comes off as Stalin on a bike: a sociopathic rage-prone prima donna who went to great lengths to destroy the lives of those who threatened his reputation. Fascinating, surprisingly disturbing look at the layers of corruption behind the sleek facade of professional cycling.

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Sports Illustrated " 'If I cheated, how did I get away with it?' That question, posed to SI by Lance Armstrong five years ago, has never been answered more definitively than it is in Tyler Hamilton's new book."
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