on January 10, 2013
I'm a passionate cyclist who has been following the sport for most of my life. I've read most of the autobiographies out there including all of Armstrong's. When this book first came out I was mixed on whether to read it as I wasn't sure how credible or what to expect. Keep in mind that the world of cycling has had it's head turned upside down in the last 1/2 of 2012 so was this a book capitalizing on the timing and circumstances with it's release?
My brother-in-law is as big a fan of cycling as I am and he ended up getting it first. When I spoke to him he hadn't even finished 1/2 of it and said "you have to read this. It describes the inner workings and systems better than anything I've read so far". Once in hand I flew through the pages. Well written from Tyler's point of view he clearly outlines what it's like to train and compete at the highest level, the struggle to get there, and the inevitable choices that are made by the individual. Each event that's recounted in different races are spot on and as I read through I can recall those specific points clearly as if I had watched it just yesterday. To be able to relate to those periods in a race as a spectator but also understand what was going through Tyler's mind at that point combined with the knowledge of the systematic doping that was happening changed my outlook on some riders and the sport completely.
I have a much better understanding of why doping is unfair and how it affects each individual differently. I used to think that if they all dope then isn't it still a fairly level playing field which is completely misguided. Many professional reviews had slammed this book for being more about Lance Armstrong than about Tyler Hamilton and a way to sell the pages. I disagree. Following Tyler's ascent into the elite world shows that his career was always intertwined at some point with Lance. He spent a great deal of time on team Postal (which is also where his eventual involvement with doping began) and even after leaving was still exposed to the "Lance camp" as cycling at that level is a very small, closely tied community. Yes there are many references and events that include Lance but it's also a part of the life and career that Tyler has experienced. To say this is a book mainly about Lance Armstrong is false as it's truly a complete and detailed account of the career of Tyler Hamilton.
If you're a cycling fan this is highly recommended. If you're not a cycling fan but want a better understanding of what it's really like behind the ropes this is one of the best. As a general read I'd say all you have to do is check out other reviewer's comments. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Tyler and what he's done and would hope that someday, other top elite cyclists retired or not, come forward. If they don't, this book has at least given me an understanding why.
on September 18, 2012
As an avid cyclist and cycling fan, I found this book to be an incredibly read. Having read numerous autobiographies over the years of other famous musicians who were heavy dopers, I found that the cloak and dagger tactics are the same no matter what the reasons were for taking them. This is a drug story. It is also a power story. It's a story about power and competition.
They all doped during the Armstrong era. Stripping people of titles and wins is all fine and good, but who do you give the titles to? None of them were clean. Yes, they should be exposed for what they did. Ultimately, they are not heros. But I question the validity of stripping them of their titles based on the fact that none of them were clean. Does that mean that no one should have a title for the Armstrong period?
Ultimately, you feel sorry for them. They had tough choices to make. I admire Tyler for coming forward and exposing the truth. It was not an easy thing for him to do.
I recommend this read. It provides an insight into the world of professional cycling that you never see while watching the Tour de France on television.
on November 9, 2012
This book is an eye-opener on how blood doping through EPO and transfusions transformed cyclists into
superhumans. Compared to the cyclists of the late 1980's, these techniques created an unrecognizable sport.
It however is not just a sport science book but it also tells us a lot about the players and personalities
in the sport during the 1990's and the 2000's.
Tyler Hamilton's recollections are so detailed. You can sense the pain and the release of opening up about
his dishonest past (and that of his teammates). I applaud his revelations on what happened - it's
the only way to move forward.
A great read! I've read it twice from end-to-end.
on September 21, 2012
In this thought provoking book, Tyler Hamilton sheds light onto the hidden world of professional cycling. Starting in 1986, some riders were improving so suddenly from one year to another and by so much that it was most certainly due to some secret. There were some rumors of a special substance used in Europe... I was an Olympic cyclist then and I decided to leave the sport. Reading Tyler's book I realize it had to be a nightmare for all. It was worse than I had imagined. And Armstrong bullying and money power only made it worse. If you want to know, read this book. You have a lot of courage Tyler Hamilton - Thank you.
on January 1, 2013
Well-written, devastating look at the culture of professional cycling. It sounds like it should be a downer, but for me it was not. I flew through the pages and loved it. While I don't have many positive feelings left for Lance Armstrong, you can sort of understand why these guys did what they did after reading the book. I don't condone their choices, but the book helps you empathize, and empathy is never a bad thing. Plus they were wicked athletes who loved their sport, paradoxically.