Tour de France: Unchained episode by episode guide

The Cycling Weekly guide to all eight episodes of the Netflix show, from Copenhagen to Paris

Tour de France 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Netflix's Tour de France documentary, Tour de France: Unchained, was finally released on Thursday, almost a year on from the race it covers, and just over three weeks away from the next edition. Good timing.

There are eight episodes, which cover different aspects of the race; it is mostly done chronologically, but some stages are covered multiple times, from different angles. Seven teams feature primarily: AG2R Citroën, Alpecin-Deceuninck, EF Education-EasyPost, Groupama-FDJ, Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. 

More or less, each episode focuses on one of these teams, but there are some that appear more often than others; naturally, given some teams won more than others, and only one rider can win overall.

Each segment lasts about 40 minutes, tracking the action from Copenhagen, Denmark, where the race began, to Paris, France, the traditional end of the Tour.

Here is your episode-by-episode guide for Tour de France: Unchained. Make sure you take a look at our spoiler-free review, too.

Please note, there are spoilers below. Obviously, all the action happened last July, so you might already know what occurred across the 21 stages, but if you would rather relive it through Unchained, you should not go any lower.

Episode one: Grand Départ

Yves Lampaert during stage one of the 2022 Tour de France

Yves Lampaert competes in stage one of the 2022 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The opening episode covers the Tour de France's Grand Départ in Copenhagen and wider Denmark. It introduces two teams, broadly, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and EF Education-EasyPost.

It is all about how both teams are desperate for a stage win, for Quick-Step, the pressure is on the shoulders of Fabio Jakobsen, at his first Tour, while for EF, Stefan Bissegger is the focus.

It begins with a Quick-Step training camp in the Sierra Nevada, where we are introduced to Julian Alaphilippe, the world champion, who is then taken away, as he wasn't selected for the Tour. Instead, the focus moves onto Jakobsen.

For EF, team boss Jonathan Vaughters is the main talking head, who describes how much pressure his squad are under due to the need for UCI points. To that end, EF put everything into "project Stefan", the team's attempt to get Bissegger into the yellow jersey at the end of stage one.

Sadly for the Swiss rider and EF, he crashed twice on the opening stage in Copenhagen, while Yves Lampaert of Quick-Step is a surprise winner.

The action then moves onto stage two, where the story of Jakobsen coming back from his horrific crash at the Tour of Poland sets up the Dutchman to win in Nyborg. Comeback complete.

Episode two: Welcome to Hell

Jumbo-Visma lead the peloton onto a cobbled sector on stage five of the 2022 Tour de France

Jumbo-Visma lead the peloton onto a cobbled sector on stage five of the 2022 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Episode two is all about Jumbo-Visma, and a lot of it focuses on the relationship management of the Dutch squad: how do you keep Wout van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič all happy?

Van Aert is key, as he is shown effectively abandoning Vingegaard and his team on stage four as he attacks to victory. The Belgian says: "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."

Stage five is chaotic for Jumbo, as the cobbles cause a mechanical for Vingegaard and a crash for Roglič. Van Aert abandoned his stage ambitions to help the former out, but Roglič was left behind after dislocating his shoulder.

"Wout really saved my ass, which shows what a great team member he is," Vingegaard pithily says.

Interestingly, there is no discussion of stage three, or the winner of stage five, as neither involved any of the eight teams who gave Netflix access.

Episode three: The Weight of a Nation

Thibaut Pinot at the Tour de France, in front of a French flag

Thibaut Pinot at the 2022 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Here is the emotional episode, the one that will have you screaming TIBOPINO at your television, and singing La Marseillaise. Episode three follows AG2R Citroën and Groupama-FDJ in their trials and tribulations hunting for a stage win in the opening part of the race, as the first French stage win, or French stage win, takes time.

Stage six is skipped, as Netflix did not have access to its winner Tadej Pogačar, and instead it moves right onto La Planche des Belles Filles, where Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) hopes to win.

The Frenchman is shown spending time at home, at his farm, with his goats. At the same time, the audience is introduced to Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën), who finished fourth at the 2021 Tour, but had an unfortunate 2022, crashing multiple times.

The episode shows the pain riders go to in order to try and win, and to continue to support the team. O'Connor keeps going until stage nine, before succumbing to his injuries, while Pinot is shown struggling on stage seven, before he almost wins on stage nine to Châtel.

However, AG2R's Bob Jungels wins that day, so there is redemption for at least one of the French teams. Vive la France.

Episode four: Attack, Counter Attack

Jonas Vingegaard celebrates winning stage 11 of the 2022 Tour de France

Jonas Vingegaard wins stage 11 on the Col du Granon at the 2022 Tour

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Back to Jumbo-Visma for episode four, as it focuses on the team's plan to unseat Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) from the yellow jersey. This all centres around stage 11, the Col du Granon stage, where Jumbo-Visma's plan to crack their Slovenian rival comes to fruition. 

It covers the La Planche des Belle Filles stage (stage seven), from a different angle, this time covering how close Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) was to beating Pogačar on that day, and how crushed he is by missing out. However, the confidence is clear to see, something that returns four days later on the Alpine Queen stage.

It is clear that Jumbo had a plan to use Primož Roglič to soften up Pogačar before Vingegaard delivered the final blow, and that is exactly what happens. An exclusive insight given by the documentary is that Jumbo-Visma overheard Pogačar shouting on the radio about his need for water, suggesting he was struggling that day. Vingegaard wins the stage by almost three minutes, and takes the yellow jersey. Mission accomplished.

Also, episode four introduces Ineos Grenadiers, with a lovely behind-the-scenes look at Geraint Thomas and his partner, Sara Elen Thomas, at home in Monaco, where the latter tells the viewer about her fears of her husband crashing.

Episode five: Breakneck speed

Tom Pidcock at the Tour de France

Tom Pidcock celebrates winning the Alpe d'Huez stage of the Tour de France 2022

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We’re with Ineos Grenadiers for episode five as they reel in the aftermath of Jonas Vingegaard’s brilliance the day before. 

Thomas begins the episode talking the audience through his changing role in the team and Ineos’ change of focus to some of its younger stars. At that point we meet Tom Pidcock, the winner of stage 12 on his Tour debut

As David Millar says, Pidcock’s Grand Tour debut was potentially “a risk” but one that would more than pay off. The night before Alpe d’Huez, Pidcock receives a gee up from Steve Cummings, the Ineos DS, who tells him to believe he can win on the Alpe, Pidcock seems dubious.

Meanwhile in camp EF Education-Easy post, the team are staring relegation from the UCI WorldTour in the face, team manager Jonathan Vaughters is relying on American Neilson Powless to save the day. Vaughters and EF management try to encourage Powless not to go too early on the road to the Alpe, but he goes for it, getting in the breakaway.

Eventually it was a “battle of legs” as Vaughters calls it, and Pidcock had the best, overcoming any mind games in the lead group to solo to victory. 

“What will you do tonight?” says the cameraman to the Yorkshireman afterwards. “A speech then rice and chicken,” Pidcock says. “The same as every other day,” he adds with a laugh, only to crack open the champagne and spray it everywhere in the evening celebrations. 

Episode six: Plan B

Jasper Philipsen throws his bike

Jasper Philipsen sprints to victory in Carcassonne

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Episode six gives us an insight into Alpecin-Deceuninck’s attempts to match the highs of their debut Tour de France in 2021.

Interestingly, it begins with Mathieu van der Poel admitting that the Tour was one race too many for him after a year stacked with other high profile events. Van der Poel’s lack of form initially came as a surprise when the race got underway, but we instantly saw that it certainly wasn’t for the Alpecin management.

As a result Jasper Philipsen is forced to step up. His management gives a brief overview of the fact he has a nickname that they aren’t too happy about, “disaster”. We learn that Philipsen has a reputation for forgetting some of the small details which according to the Alpecin management, you simply cannot do at the Tour. 

“The Jasper disaster thing, we’d like that to disappear,” says Alpecin DS Christoph Roodhooft. On stage five to Calais, it didn’t.

After not realising that Wout van Aert had won the stage, Philipsen celebrates as he wins the sprint for second, only to be told that he was indeed just that, second.

We see his partner console him as he takes the embarrassed walk of shame back to the bus. “They’re just going to laugh at me,” he says with dismay.  Although redemption would soon arrive on the road to Carcassonne. In a crash marred day for the GC favourites, Philipsen and Alpecin finally got their moment on the finish line.  

Episode seven: Everything for the podium

David Gaudu climbs

David Gaudu climbs at the 2022 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Next up is a deep dive into the fight for the third step on the podium that gradually developed between France’s new great young hope, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), and a stoic Geraint Thomas. 

Viewers get a closer look at Gaudu and his teammates build up to the race, with the episode littered with the kind of inspirational quotes from Marc Madiot that you would expect to hear on the annual office team building away day. 

Gaudu is Groupama’s leader for the Tour, Madiot makes that clear, although the French public still have high hopes for the talismanic, yet ageing Pinot. The decision is then subsequently ridiculed in the French press. After a brief look at Gaudu’s home life and his personality, it's straight into the action. 

Gaudu would crack on the stage to Alpe d’Huez, leaving the team clutching at straws as to how they could pull off a comeback.

The answer? A motivational team meeting with Madiot, in which he rattles off a speech capable of rivalling that of Aragorn at the Gates of Mordor in Lord of the Rings. Thomas stands in the way of Gaudu and a podium position and on the road to Hautacam on stage 18 he would start to crack, dropping from the yellow jersey group.

We see that despite a valiant effort from his teammates to help Gaudu bridge to the head of the race, it wasn’t to be. Thomas holds on for the podium. Nevertheless there’s reason to celebrate. Gaudu secured fourth overall, the best result for a Frenchman since 2017, leading to a rather strange singalong on the team bus. 

Episode eight: Road to Paris

Jonas Vingegaard time trials on stage 20 of the Tour de France 2022

Jonas Vingegaard is astonished as he crosses the line on stage 20

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The final episode does everything you want a final chapter to do. It ties up all the loose ends, shows you the winners, the losers and everything in between.

It starts with another brief look at stages 17 and 18 in the Pyrenees, finishing at Peyragudes and Hautacam respectively. In the previous episode Netflix zoomed in on the fight for the podium on both of those baking afternoons, but this time it's from the perspective of the fight for the yellow jersey as well as the man at the back of the race.

While Pogačar and Vingegaard slug it out at the top of Peyragudes, some men like Fabio Jakobsen are shown simply doing all they can to survive.

After narrowly losing out to Pogačar on stage 17, how will Jumbo-Visma ensure Vingegaard gets through the final mountain test trouble free and still in touch with overall victory? With the pure engine that is Wout van Aert of course. Vingegaard eventually is carried up the final ascent by Van Aert with them uniting to drop the Slovenian.

Then we have the final time trial, won by Van Aert, in which Vingegaard wraps up the overall win. There’s emotion all round as the two teammates realise the magnitude of what they achieved. After a rollercoaster ride, we finally get to Paris.  We learned earlier on that Jasper Philipsen has the nickname “disaster” but after winning on the Champs-Élysées, it’s high time Alpecin found a new nickname for their star sprinter.  

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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.