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David Fiedler

Book Review: Tyler Hamilton's The Secret Race

By November 4, 2012

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Tyler HamiltonYou gotta wonder how Tyler Hamilton feels right now. He's either incredibly frustrated, happily vindicated or else some roiling combination of the two that probably changes every day.

Hamilton won an Olympic gold medal in the 2004 time trial and was a teammate of Lance Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service team including riding with him the first three years (1999-2001) that Armstrong won the Tour de France.

But then a failed drug test caused him to lose it all.  First a two-year suspension, then becoming (along with Floyd Landis) one of cycling's outcasts for his willingness to tell what he knew about cycling's doping culture.

His book, The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs, was the long-awaited story of life as a pro cyclist and promised to tell what it was like racing with Lance Armstrong and (presumably) revealing Armstrong's own doping activity that many had long suspected.

But then about a month after it came out, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released all of the evidence that it had collected on Armstrong in the course of its investigation of the man.  And suddenly Hamilton's book was an afterthought.

Nonetheless, Hamilton's book is worth reading for any cycling fan.  You can learn about Hamilton's path to the top and what he claims Armstrong did, and of course, what life is like (not fun, apparently) as a pro cyclist.  Just stay away from it if you want to hold out any illusion that your heroes in cycling in the 1990s and 2000s were all racing squeaky clean.

Read the full review:  The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs

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November 27, 2012 at 9:51 am
(1) Wendy Bumgardner says:

I finished listening to the audiobook of The Secret Race. I love watching the Tour de France each year. I’m also a medical technologist trained in blood banking. I loved the explicit detail Hamilton gives of the doping on his teams. It certainly shed light on what was going on. It also answers the questions about why they rarely got caught, and what happened to make him get caught. In a word — don’t get transfusions other than from a legitimate hospital blood bank! It’s amazing more bikers didn’t die from the techniques used. A doctor, especially a shady one providing doping products, is not trained in blood banking and transfusion procedures. Things go wrong and the wrong blood or badly handled blood WILL KILL YOU. Poor Tyler thought he was getting his own blood re-transfused, but the tests show he got somebody else’s, which can kill you if it isn’t a compatible type. Will I stil watch the Tour? Yes.

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