The Secret Race wins William Hill Sports Book of the Year

Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle’s exposé of doping in cycling has won the prestigious sportswriting prize.

Tyler Hamilton.
Tyler Hamilton.
Image: Bebeto Matthews/AP/Press Association Images

THE SECRET RACE, Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle’s exposé on the doping culture in professional cycling, was hailed as a “landmark publication” by judges as it won William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

Written with journalist Coyle, Hamilton’s book is a warts-and-all account of the American’s career in the peloton, his doping, and the years he spent in the saddle as Lance Armstrong’s team-mate.

The Secret Race topped a seven-book shortlist to claim the £24,000 cash prize, the most valuable literary sportswriting award in the world.

“The mysterious world of cycling holds a certain fascination in the public consciousness  - now more than ever following the recent home-grown success in the sport,” William Hill spokesman and co-founder of the prize Graham Sharpe said.

“The Secret Race lifts the lid on that world and delivers a shocking and jaw-droppingly frank account of what it’s like to compete at the highest level.”

Hamilton was Armstrong’s US Postal Service team-mate at the Tour de France in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Armstrong, who won a record seven consecutive yellow jerseys from 1999 to 2005, was stripped of his titles after a USADA investigation found that the team had run “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

Hamilton won gold at the 2004 Olympic Games but was found guilty of doping weeks later and stripped of his medal.

Now in its 24th year, this is the third time that a cycling book has won the William Hill Award. In 1990 Irish journalist Paul Kimmage won for his ground-breaking Rough Ride which pulled back the veil of secrecy surrounding drug use in sport.

It’s Not About the Bike, Armstrong’s memoir of his battle to beat cancer, written with Sally Jenkins, won the 2000 prize.

William Hill Sports Book of the Year – Shortlist 2012

  • That Near-Death Thing – Inside the TT: The World’s Most Dangerous Race by Rick Broadbent
  • Running with the Kenyans – Discovering The Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth by Adharanand Finn
  • The Secret Race – Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
  • Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan
  • Fibber in the Heat by Miles Jupp
  • A Life Without Limits – A World Champion’s Journey by Chrissie Wellington, with Michael Aylwin
  • Shot and a Ghost: A Year in the Brutal World of Professional Squash by James Willstrop with Rod Gilmour

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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