The Secret Race, by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
Sunday 23 September 2012
Lance Armstrong's bestseller was entitled It's Not About the Bike; this book could have been called "It's All About the Dope" as Tyler Hamilton is the latest cyclist to come clean about the extent of his doping practices. But the most eye-popping revelations concern Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner.
Armstrong has always denied the drug allegations that have swirled around him for years but last month finally stopped contesting the charges. Reading this, one can see why that might have been: Hamilton, his one-time friend and team-mate on the US Postal Service team from 1996, alleges that he, Armstrong and others took, first, testosterone, then the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) before graduating to large-scale blood transfusions.
In 1999, he says he ran out of EPO and asked Armstrong for some: "Lance pointed casually to the fridge... And there, next to a carton of milk, was a carton of EPO... I was surprised Lance would be so cavalier."
The strength of Hamilton's testimony lies in the forensic detail with which he describes how the doping system operated and how riders managed to cheat the testers for so long – he did finally get caught twice, and claims that Armstrong also tested positive but survived because the cycling authorities hushed it up, such was Armstrong's influence. How times change.
Published in hardback by Bantam Press, £18.99
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