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Exclusive: Q&A with ‘The Secret Race’ authors

VN: Was there anything that was left out of the book, either because it was too explosive or controversial, or because it was simply cut for length?

DC: The cutting room floor on this book is a fascinating place, no question. But our task with the book was to put in what could be validated, what could be verified, what could be corroborated. And we stuck to that. We were never cut for length. We made the book the length it needed to be. And over time, there are going to be many more stories coming out — that are even already coming out since this book has been published — but I think we got the key things in there.

TH: Maybe in the future some of these stories will come out, but since we didn’t have validation, we did have to cut a few things out. But that’s ok.

VN: What has been the response from the Armstrong camp?

TH: It’s just been that quote that was shown on “The Today Show” this morning. That’s all we’ve heard.
[Armstrong’s September 5 statement: “Writing a book today about events that allegedly took place more than 10 years ago is not about setting the record straight or righting a wrong. It is greedy, opportunistic and self-serving.” — Ed.]

DC: Of course we reached out to them, and we reached out to them during the reporting process as well. And they’ve chosen not to respond.

VN: For years, journalists who have dug deep into doping in cycling, writers like Paul Kimmage and David Walsh, have seen their access to riders and teams cut off and have been told they were harming the sport. Now that you’ve written this book, what do you say about their efforts of a decade ago?

TH: Back in the day when I was doping and racing, yeah, I disliked those people. Any time myself, or my team, were put into question that made me really angry. Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I feel like I’m able to look outside the box more now than I used to, and I have a lot of respect for those guys. In my defense, back then it was tough, you’re trying to make a career out of it, and these are stumbling blocks in your way.

DC: I think the larger picture is one of culture — the culture of the sport at the time, and the culture of journalism. I included Kimmage and Walsh in my acknowledgements for the book, because I appreciated the efforts they made, to be brave, and to be pioneers, to tell the truth, which is extraordinarily difficult in the sports climate and in the journalism climate. I think it’s a measure of how far we’ve all come, and the sport has come. I know Walsh was asked, and he said he doesn’t feel vindicated. I thought that was interesting. I don’t think anyone feels triumphant over this. It’s more about facing the truth with strength and grace. That is the quality I think Tyler is appreciating in them then, and appreciating in them now, and what I think everyone is now tuning in to.

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