LONDON - Disgraced cyclist Tyler Hamilton said he was "proud of writing it but not proud of what's in it" after his book "The Secret Race" won the prestigious William Hill sports book of the year award yesterday.

Former Olympic gold medalist and seven-time Tour de France rider Hamilton and co-writer Daniel Coyle took the 24,000-pound prize for the book that revealed the murky dealings in the world of professional cycling and gave a close-up view of the day-to-day detail of doping.

The award was presented by television anchorman John Inverdale, who said "The Secret Race" was a book "that fundamentally changed cycling."

"It is not a prerequisite of a [winning] book to change a sport, but this one did," he said.

Hamilton was a teammate of Lance Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team during the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Tours de France and was later banned from the sport after being found guilty of doping.

Hamilton spent 18 months working with Coyle as he came clean about the "doping, the lying and his decade spent running from the truth," said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Receiving the award at a central London bookshop yesterday, an emotional Hamilton said: "I am truly humbled. I am really proud of writing the book but not proud of what is in it. But it is the truth, and the truth needed to be told."

"The Secret Race" is the third cycling book to win the award following Paul Kimmage's "Rough Ride" in 1990 and Armstrong's "It's Not About The Bike" 10 years later.

Yesterday, Coyle paid credit to Kimmage, David Walsh and other journalists who had battled to expose Armstrong's doping in the years before "The Secret Race" helped accelerate the American's fall from grace.

Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour titles last month after the United States Anti-Doping Agency said he had been involved in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program the sport has ever seen."