That’s right, the Tour de France is getting the Drive To Survive treatment.
Next year we can expect a double bill of the high-octane Netflix documentary on the 2022 Tour, and the real-time action of the 2023 Tour de France.
But what do we know so far about the Netflix Tour de France documentary? What are we expecting from the show? And when can we see it?
Read on, because in this article we’ll cover:
- What Is The Netflix Tour de France Documentary?
- What Will The Tour de France Netflix Documentary Cover?
- What Drama Will We See From The 2022 Tour?
- Controversy Around The Netflix Tour de France Documentary
Ready for the lowdown on the Tour de France Netflix doc?
Let’s dive in!
What Is The Netflix Tour de France Documentary?
Netflix’s Tour de France documentary comes out in 2023, probably shortly before the start of the 2023 Tour which begins on the 1st of July.
It was announced in March last year that Netflix had partnered with Tour organizers A.S.O. to create a documentary about the 2022 Tour.
There is no official release date yet, but midway through Spring seems the most likely.
This is because the A.S.O are likely expecting a spike in interest in the Tour de France due to this documentary, so will look to time the show’s release for maximum viewership during the Tour in July.
The show’s name hasn’t been released, and it’s currently listed on Netflix’s program as “Untitled Tour de France Project.”
Production companies Quad and Box to Box are working on the show under the joint venture Quadbox. Box to Box notably also produced the hugely popular Netflix Formula 1 documentary Drive To Survive.
Film and TV can be hugely influential in attracting public attention to sports. It seems likely that the A.S.O. is hoping for a similar boost in popularity to what Formula 1 experienced following the release of Drive To Survive.
We know the show aims to take an immersive, narrative approach in showing the full highs and lows of the 2022 Tour de France as teams jostle to win jerseys.
What Will The Tour de France Netflix Documentary Cover?
The Netflix Tour de France documentary will follow the build-up to the 2022 Tour and the Tour itself. But what does that mean specifically?
Drive To Survive was a show created with the intention of making Formula 1 accessible and exciting to those who didn’t already follow F1.
This was achieved through an emotive tapestry of race footage, interviews with F1 personalities, and features that showed viewers the ecosystem of the track, drivers, teams, and the commercial industry.
Rivalries between hothead racers, the schemes of billionaires, and emotionally poignant accounts of key race moments took center stage. Its greatest success was in humanizing Formula 1, focusing on personalities and rivalries between drivers to engage audiences unfamiliar with the sport.
Expect the Netflix Tour de France doc to follow a similar formula to engage viewers who don’t already follow professional cycling.
The highs and lows of training, the internal politics of cycling teams, and the adrenaline of the Tour itself will be told through a mix of race highlights, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with riders and team bosses.
Whilst official information from Netflix is sparse, there’s plenty of speculation as to what this might look like.
What Should We Expect To See From The 2022 Tour?
We know the Netflix Tour de France documentary will tell the story of the 2022 Tour de France, and the producers certainly came in at the right time, capturing a particularly dramatic edition of Le Tour.
Documentaries can be hugely revealing, and by looking back at last year’s tour we can have a good guess at what we can expect to see.
We know Netflix worked with the following teams, recording both the riders and “backstage” teams:
- AG2R Citroën
- EF Education-EasyPost
- Ineos Grenadiers
- Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
So, what should we expect to see of the 2022 Tour, through the eyes of the participating 8 teams?
Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar‘s battle for the yellow jersey will obviously be a major storyline in Netflix’s documentary.
Pogačar was dominant in the early stages of the Tour. His first real challenge was Vingegaard’s thrilling attack on the Planche des Belles Filles on Stage 7.
Though Pogačar was able to defend, the two were in fierce competition for the rest of the tour, right up to the cinematic climb to Hautacam.
On the final mountain stage, Pogačar crashed and Vingegaard waited to allow his rival to catch up before continuing their battle, the two sharing a handshake in a widely celebrated moment of sportsmanship.
What followed was a nail-biting climb on which Vingegaard dropped Pogačar, confirming his lead. It would prove to be the moment Vingegaard effectively won the Tour.
Jonas Vingegaard is likely to be a leading character in the documentary. With behind-the-scenes access to team Jumbo-Visma, we should get the inside story of his first Tour de France victory with a level of access never seen before by the public.
Vingegaard’s Danish nationality makes this story even more poignant: for the first time ever, the 2022 Tour began in Copenhagen and had two further stages in Denmark.
On the other hand, defending champion Pogačar’s story might prove notably absent. His team UAE Emirates did not take part in Netflix’s documentary. In light of the Tour’s results, UAE’s absence will be felt.
UAE makes up a corner of professional cycling’s “big four”, and it’s a shame we won’t see their story; Netflix’s bid apparently wasn’t high enough. Teams Movistar and Trek-Segafredo also aren’t involved.
We do expect to see other big names in cycling make appearances in the show though, including Geraint Thomas, Tom Pidcock, and more.
But the Tour is more than just the yellow jersey, and we’re hoping for an in-depth view of the race as experienced up and down the peloton – not just the GC contenders.
Drive To Survive excelled in making the complicated dynamics, tensions, and politics of team racing accessible, and we’re hoping the producers will do the same for Le Tour.
Vingegaard could not have won the Tour without Wout Van Aert and Primoz Roglic’s work as super-domestiques, for example, and this should be a major element of the show.
And away from the sport’s biggest names, we’re hoping we’ll get an insight into how the Tour is experienced by a weathered journeyman domestique, for example – not to mention all the vital backroom staff who work away from the limelight.
Finally, with new viewers hoping wanting to see fireworks, we’re likely to get dramatic showings of the Tour’s major crashes.
Netflix’s documentary will likely want to emphasize the danger and adrenaline of riders racing at high speed to grip viewers, so expect plenty of dramatic slow-mo as riders are sent sprawling.
The disastrous pile-up for Jumbo-Visma on Stage 16 springs to mind, which sent both Roglic and Van Aert to the tarmac before they were able to put in an attack.
So whilst we don’t know exactly what Netflix’s documentary will cover, for many of us it’ll be exciting to revisit key moments from last year, and learn a little more about the story behind the scenes.
Controversy Around The Netflix Tour de France Documentary
However, not everyone in the cycling world is thrilled about the idea of Le Tour being depicted on Netflix.
When creating Drive To Survive, Netflix takes a certain amount of dramatic license to tell an engaging story. This sometimes causes frustration; driver Max Verstappen is one of several to accuse the show of “faking” storylines.
To some fans, the drama and thrills of the Tour are exciting enough already, and they’re cynical about the idea of Netflix injecting their TV magic (or melodrama!).
There are also concerns that the show’s very existence and the explosion of new fans can have a sort of contaminating effect on the sport.
In 2021, Verstappen dethroned Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to win the World Championship thanks to a highly controversial interpretation of the rules by race directors. Some suggested F1 had become too interested in creating drama for the camera.
At BikeTips, we don’t want to tell anyone how to think or feel. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the Netflix documentary, we’re mainly just excited for more cycling content and wider audiences for the sport.
New fans mean more people to chat with about cycling, more friends to cycle with, and more cycling memes. All that good stuff.
So lights, camera, action! We can’t wait to see what Netflix has in store for us.