Get inside the Tour de France of 2022 when the new Netflix series, ‘Tour de France Unchained’ begins on 8 June. With unprecedented access to the race, producer Yann Le Bourbouac’h and his team of eight directors capture the action like never before…
Click the link below for a preview of ‘Tour de France: Unchained’
The Tour de France was created by the media in 1903. The concept of a cycling stage race was the brainchild of Géo Léfevre and although an impromptu suggestion at first, it has become a global phenomenon that will celebrate its 110th edition in 2023.
The original aim was to create a sporting event that would capture the imagination of the public… and prompt them to buy L’Auto, a newspaper in France that was experiencing a decline in sales.
For the early editions of the race, the only media outlet with access to the riders was L’Auto and it achieved the desired result, generating interest in a bike race and thus providing great content with stories of bravado and more.
In 1921, 15 other media outlets were also given accreditation to cover the race and the legend of the Tour grew thanks to reporting about the extremes that the pioneering riders of those early editions put themselves through.
Since the famous meeting when Léfevre first uttered the words “Tour de France”, the event has flourished and the media remains an integral component of the race’s success.
Newspaper columns captured the emotions of this extreme cycling challenge in the formative years and that soon evolved into radio broadcasts that explained the action, with the first live call coming during the 1929 edition.
When the Tour de France returned to the roads of France following WWII, coverage of the race evolved even further with live images of the final stage broadcast from the Parc des Princes in Paris on 25 July 1948. It marked the beginning of a new era for cycling, one that would eventually lead to global interest that made Le Tour much more than just another bike race.
‘Unchained’, the Tour’s latest media evolution
In 2022, the Tour organisers allowed a production team from Netflix unprecedented access to the race and its entourage. With a team of eight directors, the production crew led by Yann Le Bourbouac’h went to work in the hope of doing for cycling what ‘Drive To Survive’ has done for Formula-One: broaden the appeal of a popular sport by showcasing the inside stories to an entirely new audience.
On 8 June 2023, 319 days after the conclusion of the 109th edition of the race, Netflix will premier ‘Tour de France: Unchained’.
The one-minute promotional video posted overnight by ASO, organisers of the TDF, gives a glimpse of what we can expect from a series about the 2022 race.
Anyone who has followed the Tour understands that it conjures high emotions, as we watch riders pushing themselves to the limit in the quest to succeed in an event that was extreme when it began and, 110 years later, continues to captivate a global audience of cycling aficionados and casual sport fans alike.
Netflix recognises the appeal of the race and it was given the opportunity to capture the action and document the drama in a way that is bound to attract even more viewers to a race that has a new cast of superstar athletes and their teams.
That the first Unchained series happened to coincide with the brilliant race from 2022, when Tadej Pogacar finally met his match thanks to a captivating rivalry with Jonas Vingegaard, should ensure that the Neflix production is a popular success.
After a few years when the pandemic heavily influenced the running of the race, the crowds were back in force on the roadside in 2022 and there was fantastic sporting action from the start in Copenhagen all the way to the finish in Paris.
It was always planned for Unchained to be released in advance of the 2023 Tour de France and it will surely help build anticipation as the Grand Départ of the 110th edition approaches. This year’s race begins in Bilbao, Spain on Saturday 1 July and, 23 days later, concludes in Paris. And, for the second year running, the racing action will continue through to the end of the month when the eight-stage Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift begins (23 July 2023).
Cycling’s appeal is growing all the time. The addition to the competition calendar of the women’s TDF has proven to be an outstanding success; TV ratings for the first edition are impressive and it’s clear that the Tour de France has once again contributed to the growth of cycling.
For now, we only have a one-minute teaser for the new Netflix series but from what we can see, the ‘Tour de France: Unchained’ is sure to lure in more viewers and help give them an understanding of the complexities of competitive cycling while also showcasing the places and people of an event that remains much more than just another bike race.
– By Rob Arnold
RIDE Media is the publisher of the Official Tour de France Guide (Australian edition).
Pre-order your ‘Tour Guide’ before the race begins.