Tyler Hamilton was once one of the world’s top-ranked cyclists—a fierce competitor renowned among his peers for his uncanny endurance and epic tolerance for pain. He started his career with the U.S. Postal Service team in the 1990s and quickly rose to become Lance Armstrong’s most trusted lieutenant, and a member of his inner circle.
For the first three of Armstrong’s record seven Tour de France victories, Hamilton was by Armstrong’s side, clearing his way. But just weeks after Hamilton reached his own personal pinnacle—winning the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics—his career came to a sudden end: he was suspended for doping and exiled from the sport.
Denying the use of performance enhancing drugs in the years that followed, Hamilton was forced to come to terms with his past in 2010 when the Federal Government launched an investigation into systematic doping on the U.S. Postal Service team. Hamilton was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and for the first time, broke the code of silence that had protected the sport’s hard truth for so long. His testimony chronicled a shocking culture of performance enhancing drug use encouraged and aided by team doctors, managers and coaches, and a dark world in which the sport’s top performers lived.
In 2012, Hamilton released his memoir, “The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs,” a riveting journey into the heart of a never before seen world, the stark choices that went along with his decision to compete at a world class level and his complicated relationship with Lance Armstrong. The book became an instant New York Times bestseller and was the recipient of the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
Freed from the burden of hiding the truth and being able to tell a story that only a few short years ago would have seemed unimaginable, his story is the example of how culture can drive behavior – not just in sports, but in business and in life – and how values can be easily compromised as a consequence. He is also a testament to the transformational power of the truth.
Hamilton raced professionally from 1995 to 2008. He now lives in Missoula, Montana and runs his own training business for cyclists of all levels, Tyler Hamilton Training, LLC.
His story was truly amazing. He helped me realize that you really need to understand the consequences of your actions.– Member of USA Swimming National
What I find so compelling about Tyler and his presentation is his authenticity. Tyler holds nothing back – he not only highlights the triumphs but also examines the low points and unmasks what it took to compete at the elite level of cycling from the mid-1990s until the mid-2000s. He returns time and again to the theme of choice – that we all have the power to make choices and that those choices have consequences. At Carroll College, he took the time to address student athletes directly, using his story as a cautionary tale about the price of winning at all costs.– Gillian Glaes, Associate Professor of History, Carroll College
Tyler was absolutely amazing! I have had experience with many athletes?and he was undeniably the best we have had.?He is friendly, honest, approachable and just an all-around great guy.?He made everyone he spoke to feel special…Our staff loved him and felt he took the time to say hello and remember each of their names, our sponsors were thrilled because he took the time to chat and learn about each of them, and the dinner participants felt his honesty and openness and loved the story. His speech felt like raw honesty and that’s what they wanted to hear.– Janine Herman, Executive Director, Calgary JCC
The American School in London brought Tyler to the school in the context of its core values work. Tyler spent the day with the students at ASL, speaking candidly about his experience, and answering every question that they had. At night, he spoke to over two hundred adults in the community. Again, his honesty and ability to take responsibility for his actions earned respect and admiration. His visit to ASL was a big success, helping the school make sense of its values via a contemporary example.– Paul Richards, Principal, American School in London