Book2Book Monday 26 Nov 2012
Claiming the greatest honour in sports-writing, The Secret Race created news headlines earlier this year, and has been widely described as the most damning indictment yet of Tour winners, such as Tyler's former teammate Lance Armstrong. Announced by John Inverdale at a lunchtime ceremony at Waterstones Piccadilly, Europe's largest bookstore, The Secret Race was hailed by judges as "a landmark publication".
Tyler Hamilton was once one of the world's most-liked and top-ranked cyclists, renowned among his peers for his uncanny endurance and epic tolerance for pain. A teammate of Lance Armstrong on the US Postal Service cycling team during the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Tour de France competitions, Hamilton appeared at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, winning a gold medal at the latter. Just weeks after claiming gold, he was found guilty of doping and was exiled from the sport.
In 2009 Hamilton met with writer Daniel Coyle for dinner (the two had met five years earlier while Coyle was writing his bestselling book, Lance Armstrong: Tour de Force) where he revealed he wanted to come clean about the doping, the lying, his years as Lance Armstrong's teammate and his decade spent running from the truth. Over the next eighteen months, Hamilton told not only his story, but also his sport's story, pulling back the curtain on the secret world of professional cycling like never before.
William Hill spokesman and co-founder of the prize, Graham Sharpe, said: "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.
The Secret Race is the third - and most controversial – book about cycling to have claimed the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award: Paul Kimmage won the second ever Award for his ground-breaking Rough Ride, before Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins took the honour ten years later for It's Not About the Bike, the now contentious but nonetheless inspirational tale of Armstrong's amazing recovery from cancer".
Now in its 24th year, the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £24,000 cash prize, the winning author will receive a £2,000 William Hill bet, a specially-commissioned hand-bound copy of their book and a day at the races.
Also awarded at the William Hill Sports Book of the Year ceremony was the prize for Best Sports Book Cover Design, which went to Rich Norgate for That Near-Death Thing– Inside the TT: The World's Most Dangerous Race by Rick Broadbent (Orion). Norgate received a £1,000 prize, a free £1,000 bet, and a framed copy of the work.
The judging panel for this year's award consisted of broadcaster and writer John Inverdale; footballer and chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, Clarke Carlisle, who joins the judging panel for the first time; broadcaster Danny Kelly; award-winning journalist Hugh McIlvanney; and columnist and author, Alyson Rudd. Chairman of the judging panel is John Gaustad, co-creator of the award and founder of the Sportspages bookshop.