The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton
Like millions the world over, I had been taken in completely by the Lance Armstrong myth. I willed his discreditors to be proven wrong, and for the reputation of this deserving hero to be established forever in cycling’s hall of fame. After all, he had been dope-tested over 500 times in his career, and never ever been tested positive for banned substances…….or so we were led to believe.
The first few days of the 2015 Tour de France is an appropriate time to remember that all may not be well in what we think is the best of all possible worlds in cycling. If past performances are any guide, out of the 195 starters in the current race, 25-50% could still be cheating. The sophisticated ‘dope doctors’, like Fuentes and Ferrari of the past, are always one step ahead of their profession when it comes to detecting banned substances. The art of ‘micro-dosing’ is going to be a hard one to crack……..
Tyler Hamilton, long-time buddy and domestique for Lance Armstrong, had been at the thick end of doping for over 8 years, helping Armstrong in his bid to wind 7 consecutive Tours. He was guilty like the rest of them, but them he fell out with Armstrong (like some many others), and when the chips were down and the world was turning against Armstrong, Hamilton ended up ‘singing like a canary’, like most of the other members of US Postal.
This account, written by co-writer Daniel Coyle, is Hamilton’s version of events. It appears to be sincere, but then all autobiographies do. Much of what he describes is already in the public domain elsewhere, but what does make fascinating reading is the minute detail of the mechanisms of doping: the what, the how, the where, the who with, the how much and how often…….
The life of a doper was, indeed, very complicated. The trips in private planes, the covert hand-overs, the shabby rooms where transfusions took place…… Much of it is hardly creditable in the context of the world’s most famous cycling event. But it all happened. And Hamilton redeems himself a little by appearing to reveal all. Read it for yourself and see what you think.