Tyler Hamilton's Secret Race wins William Hill Sports Book of the Year
12 years after Lance Armstrong's It's Not About The Bike won, team mate's exposé of US Postal scoops same award
The Secret Race, in which Tyler Hamilton blew the lid on doping at the US Postal Service team, has won the 2012 William Hill Sports Book of the Year award - 12 years after Lance Armstrong's It's Not About The Bike scooped the same prize.
For differing accounts of how expatriate Americans who had made their homes on the French Riviera viewed the same events they lived through, Hamilton's book is as far apart from Armstrong's as F Scott Fitzgerald's thinly fictionalised Tender is the Night is from his wife Zelda's Save Me The Waltz.
Hamilton's book, co-written with journalist and author Daniel Coyle, is the third cycling book to win the prize in its 24-year history - the first being Rough Ride by pro cyclist turned journalist Paul Kimmage, who did more than most to ensure that Armstrong would eventually meet his day of reckoning.
Hamilton, of course, was one of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's key witnesses against Armstrong - indeed, its Reasoned Decision in the case made specific reference to the work, noting that it had "found nothing in the book that is inconsistent with the account provided by Hamilton in the lengthy interview he gave to USADA five months earlier."
It added that "it is clear from the book that Hamilton pulled no punches in describing in detail his own doping practices," and that "many of the statements he made in the book concerning the doping practices of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes are corroborated by records from the Operation Puerto investigation," concluding that "Hamilton’s detailed account of Lance Armstrong’s doping is truthful, accurate and well corroborated."
Originally, the book was due to have been published - perhaps mischeviously - on 18 September, Armstrong's birthday, but it was released a fortnight early, presumably in part to avoid being lost among the fallout from publication of USADA's Reasoned Decision, which in the case of Hamilton' own affidavit covered much of the same ground.
Hamilton and Coyle win a cash prize of £24,000, a free £2,000 bet from William Hill and a day at the races.
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe commented: “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.
"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."
You can read our review of it by Dan Kenyon here.