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This June, streaming platform Netflix will release a first-of-its-kind documentary series about the Tour de France. It will come out on 8 June at 08:00 in the UK. This equates to 03:00 US east coast time, midnight on the US west coast, and 17:00 in Sydney, Australia.
Titled 'Tour de France: Unchained', or 'Tour de France: Au cœur du peloton' ('Inside the peloton') in French, here's everything you need to know about it.
What is it?
Tour de France: Unchained is a new Netflix documentary series that tells the story of the 2022 Tour de France.
The news of its production came in March 2022, with camera crews then embedding within seven teams at the race. Created as part of a joint venture between Quadbox and Box to Box Films, the makers of F1: Drive to Survive, the series offers exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the highs and lows of the Tour de France. France Télévisions also contributed to the production.
The series consists of eight episodes, each lasting around 40 minutes. Below is a chart of the episode titles, and which teams they are focused on.
|1||The Grand Départ||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl|
|2||Welcome to Hell||Jumbo-Visma|
|3||The Weight of a Nation||AG2R Citroën / Groupama-FDJ|
|4||Attack Counter Attack||Jumbo-Visma|
|5||Breakneck Speed||Ineos Grenadiers / EF Education-EasyPost|
|7||Everything for the Podium||Ineos Grenadiers / Groupama-FDJ|
|8||Road to Paris||Jumbo-Visma|
What's it like?
Our very own Adam Becket has already reviewed it, concluding: "It's a thrilling watch for both those who know cycling, and those who are new to the sport. It might prove too general for the committed fan, but there is something for everyone."
"There are flaws, with the absence of Pogačar the biggest, and it appearing surface level at times," he writes. "However, professional cycling is a confusing sport, and Unchained does an excellent job of breaking down the barriers to entry to show just how enthralling it is."
It was originally understood that eight teams had given exclusive access to Netflix camera crews for the series. These included: AG2R Citroën, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Bora-Hansgrohe, EF Education-EasyPost, Groupama-FDJ, Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.
Netflix’s Tour de France: Unchained landing page now says that only seven teams are involved, with Bora Hansgrohe no longer appearing to feature.
As part of the series, the teams’ managers have undergone sit-down interviews, much like those in the F1: Drive to Survive episodes. These include Groupama-FDJ's Marc Madiot and EF Education-EasyPost's Jonathan Vaughters.
A number of journalists, working across various outlets around the world, have also been interviewed for the series. Among them is Eurosport presenter Orla Chennaoui, who revealed her involvement on her Instagram page.
What do we already know about it?
The producers of the series have so far released three trailers.
The first was shown at the Mobile Live World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in March 2023 and showed on-bike footage, interviews with team managers and behind-the-scenes action.
In April 2023, the Tour de France, Netflix and the participating teams, shared a new, one-minute trailer (below), which included the docuseries’s official name, ‘Tour de France: Unchained’, and release date of 8 June.
A third trailer was released on 2 June, featuring interviews with Wout van Aert, Fabio Jakobsen and Thibaut Pinot.
Of course, the story of the race, won by Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard, will already be well known to cycling fans.
When will it be released?
The series will be available to stream on Netflix on 8 June. This coincides with the Critérium du Dauphiné, the key precursor stage race to the Tour.
Unchained will be available in 190 territories, and will be released at 08:00 in the UK. This equates to 03:00 US east coast time, midnight on the US west coast, and 17:00 in Sydney, Australia.
When the series is released, it will be shown here on Netflix's website.
How much did it cost?
According to reports, Netflix covered the production costs of €8 million to make the series, paying a total of €1 million to the different parties involved. The participating teams are understood to have been given around €62,000 each.
Will there be a second season?
Yes. Netflix's camera crews will embed once again within the peloton at the 2023 Tour de France for a second season of Unchained.
It is unknown at this stage which teams will be taking part.
Have Netflix produced Tour de France documentaries before?
Tour de France: Unchained is Netflix’s first official docuseries about the French Grand Tour.
The streaming platform has, however, produced three seasons of a fly-on-the-wall series about the Movistar team, titled ‘The Least Expected Day’, covering the squad’s 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Similar docuseries have been made about WorldTour teams Soudal Quick-Step, Jumbo-Visma and SD Worx for Amazon Prime.
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Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders.
An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides.
He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.
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