Ever wondered why riders in the European road cycling circuit took performance enhancing drugs? Tyler Hamilton’s book “The Secret Race”, released in 2012, gives a gripping account of the heyday of EPO on the circuit and was the book that ultimately shattered the myth that Lance Armstrong was clean.
Written by Daniel Coyle, the book outlines Hamilton’s career progression from when he joined the circuit in the early 90s, to his first doping experiences in 1997 alongside Lance Armstrong at Team Postal, and eventually his positive test result for doping.
The story covers the myriad of deception to evade the testers. However its real power is the personal toll it takes on Hamilton lying to everyone for so long that he began to buy into the lies. It covers the sacrifices that cycling at the highest levels took, including the break down of his marriage.
In the book Hamilton says, “It just feels so good to be able to talk about this, finally.” Finally Hamilton was released from the burden of silence.
The book gives a great insight into the mind of a competitive cyclist, and the lengths that one will go to be at the top of the sport. Hamilton’s tactics included having disposable prepaid mobile phones to talk to doctors like Dr Ferarri who was convicted for his part in aiding the doping of cyclists, through to the special codes and convoluted methods of storing and procuring the enhancing substances. It also outlines why it would have been impossible during this time to win the Tour De France without doping.
Outside’s Christopher Keys did a full review at the time of release.
I would highly recommend reading this book. If you live in Auckland it is available from the library. Otherwise it can be purchased from leading outlets.