The Secret Race: inside the hidden world of the Tour de France – Tyler Hamilton

This is, essentially a history of doping in professional cycling from the 1990s to the mid-2000s told from the point of view of Tyler Hamilton who was in the thick of what was going on. It is also a bit of an autobiography of Tyler Hamilton from how he got into professional cycling to the point at which everything fell apart after USADA went after Lance Armstrong.

This was a really readable book and, on the whole, Hamilton comes across as a decent bloke who got caught up in something and whose competitive instinct overrode his moral compass. It feels odd writing this on the day Lance Armstrong came out and said he wouldn’t change a thing about his doping! A man without a moral compass I suspect!

And that leads to the downside of reading a book like this. You leave it thinking that for all people are making the right noises this hasn’t really gone away. That the scandal isn’t fully played out and that doping still happens.

It reminded me that there are still too many people in positions of power within world cycling who are known to have been involved in doping or, as they would probably see it, been involved in finding ways around the system.

I love watching the cycling classics and tours, but the possibility that the competitors are not cycling clean is never far from my thoughts when watching it. I really want them to be and hope they are…but I can’t be confident.

In summary, I enjoyed the book, I’m glad a read it and, once again, I am saddened by this sport.

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