whistle-blowing account of life and doping inside Lance Armstrong's team has
won the 24th 'bookie prize'
Secret Race, the 287-page confessional by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
exposing doping, double-dealing and cover-ups at the court of Lance Armstrong,
has won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year for 2012.
The book is
the third about cycling to have won the award in its 24-year history, after
Paul Kimmage's Rough Ride in 1989 and Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike in
Hamilton, one of
Armstrong's lieutenants in three of his Tour de France victories, said he was
"truly humbled" to win. "This is really special," he added. "I'm really proud
of writing this book but not what's in there. But it's the truth and the truth
needed to be told."
Race details how Hamilton "the sort of everyman hero sportswriters used
to invent in the 1950s: soft-spoken, handsome, polite and tough beyond
conventional measure", according to his co-author, Coyle went from
wide-eyed wannabe into systematic doper while at Armstrong's US Postal Service
That journey, from testosterone pills to EPO or "Edgar
Allan Poe" to his team-mates to the Frankenstein practice of blood
doping, is retold in intimate detail. Detail that bloodied cycling's code of
omerta and Armstrong's reputation; injection by injection, transfusion by
"The first interview we were asked: why should we believe
you? You haven't told the truth in the past and Lance has always denied it,"
said Hamilton. "We didn't know what to expect. Yes, I am an ex-liar. I lied and
I did it for a long, long time. But the world has flipped upside down and the
reaction has been great."
One of the judges John Inverdale said the
book had "fundamentally changed cycling", adding: "It's not a prerequisite of a
book to change a sport, but this one did".
Hamilton, however, believes
cycling needs to go further and set up a truth and reconciliation commission,
with a "complete amnesty" for riders who have doped.
"It's a good
indicator of how dark this sport was that in the eight years I was part of the
Tour de France there were only two riders who spoke out against the dopers
Christophe Bassons and Filippo Simeoni," said Hamilton. "And look how
they were treated. If the sport was 80% clean at the time then a lot more
people would have spoken out."
Hamilton says that he is still hopeful
that Armstrong will admit his part in a dark decade. "I still have hope," he
said. "He's obviously going through a process, and typically the first part of
the process is denial. I did it. Denial comes first and it lasts for a long
time. There are plenty of people out there today who are still denying. It's a
long process. There's more to come."
Hamilton and Coyle beat a
shortlist comprising Rick Broadbent's account of the world's most dangerous
race, Inside the TT, Adharanand Finn's Running with the Kenyans, Simon Jordan's
memoir Be Careful What You Wish For, Miles Jupp's Fibber in the Heat, which
regales his sojourn in the cricket press corps, A Life Without Limits by
Chrissie Wellington, and Shot and a Ghost: A Year in the Brutal World of
Professional Squash by James Willstrop.
As well as a £24,000
cheque, the winners also receive a £2,000 William Hill bet, a hand-bound
copy of their book and a day at the races.