Tour de France organizers ASO has confirmed that an eight-part documentary series about the race will air on Netflix in early 2023.
First reported to be in the works at the start of the month, the series will focus on the behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations, as well the on-road action, of seven WorldTour teams and one Pro Tour team as they compete at the world’s biggest race.
The series, which will be produced as a joint venture between Quad and Box to Box films (who you may know as the brains behind the hugely successful Formula 1 docuseries Drive to Survive), will consist of eight 45-minute-long episodes, broadcast in 190 countries. France Télévisions is also involved, and will broadcast a bonus hour-long documentary before the start of next year’s Tour.
The eight teams to be featured in the series were also confirmed by ASO today. They are: AG2R Citroën Team, Alpecin-Fenix, Bora-Hansgrohe, EF Education-EasyPost, Groupama-FDJ, Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma, and Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl.
UAE Team Emirates, the home of two-time Tour winner Tadej Pogačar, declined Netflix’s invitation to take part in the series, at least for this year.
“It’s true that UAE Team Emirates, like several other teams, were approximately to participate in the show. However, the terms for being protagonists for the first season were not agreed,” the team told Cyclingnews.
“We like the general idea, but we’re not pressured to rush into anything. The door is open for participation in the future.”
It has been pointed out on numerous occasions over the past month that two of F1’s most recognisable names, Mercedes and Ferrari, didn’t take part in the original series of Drive to Survive. If this new cycling iteration proves as successful as its motor racing counterpart – viewing figures for F1 reported increased by 53 percent after the docuseries first aired – it may not be too long before UAE jumps aboard.
> Netflix Tour de France documentary could take sport “to next level” says Patrick Lefevere
That level of mainstream success is certainly something that ASO wants to emulate with the new series.
“We are proud of this partnership with Netflix, France Télévisions and the Tour de France teams, which will offer fans a unique immersion behind the scenes,” sASO managing director Yann Le Moënner said today.
“Through a narrative approach, which is additive to the competition itself, the public will be able to discover how the Tour de France represents the ultimate challenge for the competitors; in particular in terms of suffering, pushing their limits and team spirit.
“This project is part of our overall ambition to make our sport more accessible and meet an even wider audience.”
Normally a staunch critic of the Tour’s organisers, EF Education-EasyPost boss Jonathan Vaughters admitted that the new series will help the sport grow.
“It almost pains me to say this, but I think ASO is actually helping the sport in general with this project and I’m on board with that,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews.
“Their media rights contracts around the world are based on viewer numbers. So, if cycling as a sport becomes more popular, the Tour de France will become more popular, and therefore their viewer numbers will go up, and therefore their media rights contracts will go up. So of course, they’ll benefit.”
Filming on the project started earlier this month, so most of the footage should consist of ill riders scrambling for the toilet or Patrick Lefevere having the hump with his classics team after yet another defeat… (alright, I’ll ease up on the Quick Steps) jokes – Asgreen is going to win on Sunday now isn’t he?).