Cycling's secrets

WHEN I'm not cycling on the road, I'm watching the sport on TV or online or reading a book or magazine about it.

The other day a friend from down south, mailed me a book he'd found in one of those Little Free Libraries.

Rockin' Ron said he would have sent it earlier but made the mistake of reading the first page then spent the next week reading it every second he wasn't asleep or preparing for his cult radio program Magic Carpet Ride on 3PBS 106.7FM Melbourne. (I say cult because I know many cyclists tune in live on Sundays between 6am and 9am as they head off on a training ride.) And I found it compelling, too.

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle is a genuine could-not-put

-it-down read.

Hamilton who raced for several years with Lance Hamilton on the US Postal team spills the beans to cycling journalist Coyle.

The former Olympic gold medallist (he has since handed back his medal) was once one of the world's top-ranked cyclists.

Once a member of Lance Armstrong's inner circle, Hamilton was renowned as the rider who won a stage of the 2003 Tour de France despite a double fracture of the right collarbone.

I can recall the news reports of the day which told how he managed to take a long solo and won the stage by more than two minutes - and ground his teeth down so much to get through the stage that he required extensive dental work.

Over the course of two years, bestselling author Coyle conducted more than 200 hours of interviews with Hamilton and spoke with numerous teammates, rivals, and friends.

The Secret Race shows the deep underbelly of professional road cycling, which was full of unscrupulous doctors, anything-goes team directors and riders so desperate to win and gain an edge they would risk their lives, health and sanity - to win. Exhausting reading but a book I recommend.

Tell me your favourite cycling title.


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