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Have you ever watched a cycling documentary and felt inspired, motivated, or even just a little bit more knowledgeable about the sport? Well, if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! In this post, we’ll be sharing some of the best cycling documentaries that you can watch right now. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, these films offer a glimpse into the world of cycling and can provide you with insight into the challenges, triumphs, and experiences of cyclists. Maybe they’ll even persuade you to take up a camera yourself! Sit back, relax, kick off your bike shoes and get ready to be inspired!
FACT – The original intent of the film was for the filmmaker, Bryan Fogel, to experiment with doping and see if he could evade detection. However, the film took a dramatic turn when he uncovered the Russian doping scandal.
Icarus is a documentary that explores the issue of doping in cycling. The film follows filmmaker Bryan Fogel as he experiments with performance-enhancing drugs and documents his journey. However, the documentary takes a twist when Fogel is introduced to Grigory Rodchenkov, a Russian scientist who is responsible for the country’s state-sponsored doping program. The documentary exposes the extent of the doping program and its impact on the sport.
As a cyclist, watching Icarus can provide you with insight into the dangers of doping and how it can affect the integrity of the sport. It can also help you appreciate the hard work and dedication required to excel in cycling without the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Watching Icarus can be a powerful reminder of why it’s important to compete fairly and maintain the integrity of the sport.
Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist
FACT – The film was released two years after Pantani’s death and was funded in part by donations from fans of the cyclist.
Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist is a documentary that chronicles the life of Marco Pantani, an Italian cyclist who won both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in 1998. The documentary explores the highs and lows of Pantani’s career, including his struggles with depression and drug addiction. The documentary also covers the events leading up to Pantani’s death, which was ruled accidental.
Watching Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist can provide you with insight into the pressures that professional cyclists face and the impact that mental health issues can have on their careers. The documentary also highlights the importance of addressing mental health concerns in the cycling community and the wider world.
The Armstrong Lie
FACT – The film originally began as a documentary about Armstrong’s comeback in 2009 but took a turn when he was exposed as a fraud
The Armstrong Lie is a documentary that examines the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong, one of the most successful cyclists in history. The film follows Armstrong’s comeback from cancer and his seven Tour de France wins. However, the documentary takes a turn when Armstrong is exposed as a fraud and admits to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Watching The Armstrong Lie can provide you with insight into the impact that doping can have on the sport and the athletes involved. The documentary also highlights the importance of maintaining the integrity of the sport and competing fairly.
A Sunday in Hell
FACT – The film’s director, Jørgen Leth, had to wait over 30 years for the race to be held on a Sunday, which is when he wanted to film it.
A Sunday in Hell is a documentary that covers the 1976 Paris-Roubaix race, one of the most grueling one-day races in the world. The film follows the cyclists as they navigate cobblestone roads, dirt paths, and other challenging terrain. The documentary also explores the strategies and tactics employed by the riders as they battle for victory.
Watching A Sunday in Hell can provide you with insight into the challenges and strategies involved in professional cycling. The documentary also highlights the physical and mental toughness required to compete in a race like Paris-Roubaix.
FACT – The film crew had to ride in a car alongside the cyclists while filming, which required them to undergo extensive training to keep up with the team
Clean Spirit is a documentary that follows the Dutch professional cycling team Argos-Shimano during the 2013 Tour de France. The film provides a behind-the-scenes look at the team’s preparation and training, as well as the riders’ relationships with their coaches and teammates. The documentary also covers the team’s commitment to competing fairly and without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Watching Clean Spirit can provide you with insight into the preparation and training required to compete at the professional level. The documentary also highlights the importance of teamwork and the commitment required to maintain the integrity of the sport.
Rising from Ashes
FACT – One of the riders on the Rwandan national cycling team, Adrien Niyonshuti, went on to compete in the 2012 Olympics and became the first Rwandan cyclist to ever compete in the games.
Rising from Ashes is a documentary that follows the journey of the first Rwandan national cycling team. The film covers the team’s development and training, as well as their participation in the 2012 London Olympics. The documentary also explores the impact that cycling has had on the riders’ lives and the rebuilding of Rwanda after the country’s devastating genocide.
Watching Rising from Ashes can provide you with insight into the transformative power of sport and the impact that cycling can have on individuals and communities. The documentary also highlights the importance of providing opportunities and resources for underprivileged communities to participate in sports.
Because we all love to get a little something extra for nothing and, more importantly, because I got a little carried away with my research…here are 6 more documentaries that you might not have heard of, but which are definitely worth a watch.
Half the Road
FACT – The film’s director, Kathryn Bertine, is a former professional triathlete and cyclist who also founded the women’s cycling team, Wiggle High5.
Half the Road is a documentary that examines the gender inequality in professional cycling. The film explores the challenges and barriers that female cyclists face, from the lack of media coverage to the pay gap between male and female riders. The documentary also features interviews with top female cyclists, including Marianne Vos and Emma Pooley.
Watching Half the Road can provide you with insight into the gender inequality in professional cycling and the need for greater support and opportunities for female riders. The documentary also highlights the incredible achievements of female cyclists and the importance of promoting gender equality in sports.
FACT – The film was shot over the course of 18 months in 22 countries and features interviews with more than 60 experts on cycling and its impact on society.
Bicycle is a documentary that covers the history of the bicycle, from its invention to its impact on society and culture. The film features interviews with historians, cycling enthusiasts, and everyday riders, as well as stunning footage of cyclists from around the world.
Watching Bicycle can provide you with a deeper appreciation for the bicycle and its impact on society and culture. The documentary also highlights the environmental and health benefits of cycling and the need for greater investment in cycling infrastructure.
FACT – The film’s director, Nicholas Schrunk, is a former professional mountain biker who previously worked as a producer on the TV show, The Amazing Race.
Blood Road is a documentary that follows professional mountain biker Rebecca Rusch as she embarks on a grueling 1,200-mile journey through the Ho Chi Minh Trail in search of the crash site where her father died during the Vietnam War. The film explores the physical and emotional challenges of the journey, as well as the impact of the war on the people and landscape of Vietnam.
Watching Blood Road can provide you with insight into the power of cycling as a means of healing and self-discovery. The documentary also highlights the incredible resilience and strength of the human spirit.
The Last Kilometer
FACT – The film was shot entirely on Super 16mm film and required the use of specially designed cameras that could be mounted on motorcycles.
The Last Kilometer is a documentary that covers the final kilometer of the 2008 Milan-San Remo race, one of the oldest and most prestigious one-day races in professional cycling. The film features interviews with top riders, including Mark Cavendish and Fabian Cancellara, as well as stunning footage of the race.
Watching The Last Kilometer can provide you with insight into the excitement and drama of professional cycling and the tactics and strategies employed by top riders. The documentary also highlights the incredible physical and mental toughness required to compete at the professional level.
The High Life
FACT – The film was funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign and was produced by Mark Cavendish’s former teammate, David Millar.
The High Life is a documentary that follows professional cyclist David Millar as he embarks on a grueling training regimen in preparation for the 2014 Tour de France. The film covers Millar’s physical and mental preparation, as well as his personal struggles and relationships.
Watching The High Life can provide you with insight into the dedication and commitment required to compete at the professional level, as well as the impact of cycling on an athlete’s personal life. The documentary also highlights the importance of mental health and self-care in the world of professional cycling.
FACT – The film’s subject, Josiah Middaugh, is a former Xterra World Champion and Ironman competitor who turned to mountain biking after suffering a serious injury.
Clean Break is a documentary that follows the journey of professional cyclist Josiah Middaugh as he transitions from a career in triathlon to professional mountain biking. The film covers Middaugh’s physical and mental preparation, as well as the challenges and rewards of competing in a new discipline.
Watching Clean Break can provide you with insight into the diversity of cycling disciplines and the challenges and opportunities of transitioning between them. The documentary also highlights the importance of taking risks and pursuing new challenges in the pursuit of personal and professional growth.
Cycling documentaries offer a great way to gain insight into the world of cycling and its impact on the athletes and communities involved. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a newbie, watching these documentaries can provide you with inspiration, motivation, and education. From exploring the dangers of doping to showcasing the transformative power of sport, these documentaries cover a wide range of topics and themes. So, pick one of these documentaries and settle in for an informative and inspiring viewing experience.
Still unsure? Here’s a summary of the main themes of each of the 12 cycling documentaries mentioned in this post:
Best cycling documentaries to watch now
Doping in cycling, dangers of performance-enhancing drugs, importance of fair play and maintaining the integrity of the sport
Mental health and addiction in cycling, pressures faced by professional cyclists
The Armstrong Lie
The rise and fall of Lance Armstrong, doping in cycling, maintaining the integrity of the sport
A Sunday in Hell
Physical and mental toughness required for professional cycling, tactics and strategies in one-day races
Preparation and training for professional cycling, importance of teamwork and fair play, no use of performance-enhancing drugs
Rising from Ashes
Transformative power of cycling, impact on individuals and communities, rebuilding after trauma
Half the Road
Gender inequality in professional cycling, lack of media coverage, pay gap between male and female riders
History of the bicycle, impact on society and culture, environmental and health benefits of cycling
Cycling as a means of healing and self-discovery, physical and emotional challenges, impact of war on people and landscape of Vietnam
The Last Kilometer
Tactics and strategies in professional cycling, excitement and drama of races, physical and mental toughness required
The High Life
Dedication and commitment required for professional cycling, personal struggles and relationships, importance of mental health
Diversity of cycling disciplines, challenges and opportunities of transitioning between them, taking risks and pursuing new challenges