Pain, suffering and beer — The best quotes of Tour de France: Unchained

Marc Madiot, Geraint Thomas and Jonathan Vaughters among the quotable talking heads on the new Netflix documentary

Tour de France 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are five hours of the new Netflix show Tour de France: Unchained, which covers the 2022 Tour de France, which means there's lots of talking about cycling. Fortunately for us, the audience, there are some good characters talking about cycling. There's Groupama-FDJ team boss Marc Madiot, who seems to produce a pithy phrase every time he opens his mouth, EF Education-EasyPost's boss Jonathan Vaughters, who also can't stop talking, and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) among others.

Take a look at our review of Unchained if you want to see what we think of it, and our episode-by-episode guide to take an in-depth look at what actually happens over the eight episodes of the documentary.

However, some of the quotes from the programme are so good that they are worth standing back and looking at themselves, so here are a few which caught our ears.

Episode one: Grand Départ

Stefan Bissegger

Stefan Bissegger in action on the wet streets of Copenhagen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I know what it’s like coming back from zero, maybe even below that. If all goes well, the next three weeks, I’ll be there on the start line.” - Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal Quick-Step)

“This team has been my life for the last 20 years. I think a lot of other teams would describe us as fun-loving, not as serious as other teams. That’s the image we put on to the outside world." - Jonathan Vaughters (EF Education-EasyPost)

“If we want to pull this season out of this s***ter, winning stage one of the Tour de France would do that.” - Vaughters

“It’s always more beautiful when it’s unexpected.” - Patrick Lefevere (Soudal Quick-Step) goes all philosophical.

“I lost ten teeth. I had 130 stitches. I lost bone in the upper and lower jaw. I had a lot of cracks in the skull. Maybe I’m forgetting something but I think that’s already enough." - Jakobsen on his horrific Tour of Poland crash

“The peloton is moving, it never stops. If you’re in the peloton, you’re alive. If you’re not in the peloton, you are facing death.” - Marc Madiot (Groupama-FDJ)

"A bunch sprint is like being in a traffic jam at 200km an hour." - Tom Steels (Soudal Quick-Step)

Episode two: Welcome to Hell

Wout van Aert at the Tour de France 2022

Wout van Aert at the Tour de France 2022

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There’s only one of the kind that can sprint and climb and ride on the cobbles, and that’s Wout.” - Grischa Niermann (Jumbo-Visma)

"Dealing with the pain is one of the biggest talents you need to have as a professional cyclist. Luckily, I like to hurt myself.” - Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

“It’s always difficult. A lot of teams show it’s difficult to get the ambition on the same page. For me, it’s a matter of give and take.” - Van Aert, again.

"I was nervous before the stage, because this is the one where you can lose the Tour de France. Then I had a problem, I really panicked. We talked about what we do if we have a puncture, or have a crash, but I didn’t think about what would happen if I dropped my chain.” - Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), post-cobbled stage five

"Sometimes I disagree with the team’s decision. That’s normal. I had to help them, I had no choice, because I’m also nothing without the team.” - Van Aert, again again.

“You become a leader by hurting others.” - Madiot

Episode three: The Weight of a Nation

Thibaut Pinot at the Tour de France 2022

Pinot on the attack at the Tour

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Marc Madiot is like a protective dad. He’s the father of the family, the Groupma-FDJ family. And he defends us like a mother hen defends her chicks. He shields us. He’s never let us down.” - Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

“It’s my life. When I was a kid, I was called to cycling the way a priest is called to the Church.” - Madiot

“The French love Thibaut Pinot because he’s authentic. He’s raw, sometimes too raw for my taste. He has this ability to offer something that the others don’t have. Pinot is a romantic cyclist lost in the modern world." - Madiot, again

“Sometimes I feel like I am more popular than I am talented. There are days when I wish I got less love and more wins." - poor Thibaut Pinot

Episode four: Attack, Counter Attack

Tour de France

Vingegaard takes flight on the Col du Granon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“On a mountain ascent, pain shows who you are.” - Madiot

“Jonas doesn’t know how good he is.” - Richard Plugge (Jumbo-Visma)

 “I still find it weird now. If I think back to myself aged 12 running home from school, if you’d have told me then that I’d actually win the Tour. I don’t know what I’d do. I’d probably laugh actually.” - Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers)

"You have to have the pain tolerance of a marathon runner. But then you have to be lucid enough, because this isn’t just a sport of pushing yourself, this is a chess game on wheels." - Vaughters

“Get me water!” - Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

“At altitude, in the mountains, you discover some new kind of feeling. You have to be ready.” - Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)

Episode five: Breakneck Speed

Tour de France

Pidcock divebombs his way to victory

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“They get that close you can smell the beer on their breath sometimes, it is a bit daunting” - Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers)

“Will we go straight to the hotel? We’ll go straight to the disco maybe” - Steve Cummings (Ineos Grenadiers) 

“Speech then rice and chicken, it’s the same as every other day” - Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)

“Imagine driving along the motorway at 100 miles per hour in your swimming trunks, then opening the door and jumping out. That’s what crashing is like” - Vaughters

Episode six: Plan B

Tour de France

Jasper Philipsen finally gets his moment

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Jasper lives in his own world.” - Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) on Jasper Philispen

“Mathieu winning the stage and getting in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, it was like ok, here we are now.” - Philippe Roodhoft (Alpecin-Deceuninck)

“I’ve never seen a rider who can really destroy himself like he can.” - Roodhoft on Van der Poel

“There’s always moments in a Grand Tour where you think: "F***! What am I doing here?!’ what you do to your body is like some kind of a suicide attempt almost.” - Jasper Philipen (Alpecin-Deceuninck)  

“You have to pick yourself up after the disappointment and just find the motivation again.” - Philipsen again

“If you don’t have the mental strength, you’re not made for this job.” - Marc Madiot

Episode seven: Everything for the Podium

Tour de France

Geraint Thomas gave it everything on the slopes of Hautacam

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“I’m in the twilight of my career, but when it comes to racing, I can still be competitive.” - Thomas

“Thibaut Pinot is a great rider but he’s more about the past whereas (David) Gaudu is more about the future.” - Madiot

“In the excitement of the moment you can get lost, then maybe go off the rails a bit.” - David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)

“Yes, there are going to be some tough times ahead but if you pull together, work together our strength is what we have inside of us.” - Madiot

“If you can push further in terms of suffering and sacrifice, then you may have a chance.” - Madiot is absolument the most quotable man in this programme

“There’s no room for sentimentality about people who achieved great things in the past." - You see?

Episode eight: Road to Paris

Tour de France

Fabio Jakobsen collapses into the barriers at Peraygudes after a huge effort

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“In the moment your so tired and empty, your legs start to block, your lungs struggle with breathing, you can't hear anything at all.” - Jakobsen

“I definitely have way more moments when I doubt myself than everybody thinks” - Van Aert

“These guys are really my friends, brothers I would say.” - Vingegaard, at the end of a tough Tour

“I'm trying to find other ways to win the tour. Maybe I’ll get there, maybe I won’t ever get there." - Madiot gets the final word.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.