Tour de France Netflix documentary: ASO confirms spring 2023 release date
Series will consist of eight 45-minute episodes
In March 2022, Netflix announced it was partnering with A.S.O., the organiser of the Tour de France, to create a documentary series based on the 2022 Tour de France.
France Télévisions, France’s national television broadcaster, will participate and the series will be produced by Quadbox, a joint venture between production company Quad and Box to Box Films.
Box to Box films is the sports film producer behind Netflix’s incredibly popular Formula 1 series Drive to Survive.
Drive to Survive saw interest in Formula 1 increase substantially in 2020. According to global analytics company Nielson, an average of 2.7 million 16 to 35-year-olds became interested in F1 every month in the year beginning March 2000.
If Netflix’s Tour de France proves anywhere near as popular as Drive to Survive, there could be a huge increase in interest in the Tour de France and cycling more generally.
Netflix hasn’t revealed a great deal about the show as of yet. There’s a placeholder for “Untitled Tour de France Project” on its site and Netflix labels it as “exciting”. It’s rumoured to be called Ride to Survive, and we do know that it will air in eight 45 minute episodes.
What is the Tour de France Netflix documentary release date?
An exact release date for Netflix’s Tour de France series is yet to be announced but, during the 2023 Tour de France route reveal press conference, the A.S.O. confirmed the series will air in the first half of 2023.
The 2023 edition of the Tour de France starts on Saturday 1 July in Bilbao, northern Spain. Netflix released season 4 of Drive to Survive a week before round 1 on the 2022 Formula 1 calendar and it’s not unfeasible the streaming giant will take the same approach with its Tour de France series, in which case we’ll have to wait until June.
France Télévisions is also set to release a documentary about the Tour a few days before the Grand Départs, so it makes sense that Netflix would time its release with this.
What is the Tour de France Netflix documentary about?
Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard battling it out on stage 17 of the 2022 Tour de France. Marco Bertorello / Getty Images
Netflix has said its Tour de France series will “follow as closely as possible all the actors of the Tour de France, from cyclists to team managers to understand the multiple stakes of a race”.
It promises to show the racing but also the ‘backstages’ of the eight teams involved, from how they prepare for the Grand Boucle’s stages to crossing the finish line.
Yann Le Moënner, director general of A.S.O., says the docuseries will show how the race poses the ‘ultimate challenge’ for its competitors through a narrative approach.
Laurent-Eric Le Lay, sports director at France Télévisions, says it will “allow everyone to experience part of the daily life of champions and teams”.
This is not dissimilar to Drive to Survive which, to a certain extent, dramatises the F1 season and provides behind-the-scenes footage fans wouldn’t usually see.
Cyclingnews has reported that 70 accreditations were issued for filming at the 2022 Tour de France for the series. Each of the eight teams involved is said to have had a dedicated film crew, while a separate crew tried to cover the broader story of the race.
Which teams are involved in the Tour de France Netflix documentary?
There are eight WorldTour teams involved in the Tour de France Netflix documentary:
AG2R Citroën Team
Groupama-FDJ Cycling Team
Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
The major omission from this list is UAE Team Emirates, the team of Tadej Pogačar, who won the 2021 edition of the race and came second in 2022.
Team Jumbo-Visma’s inclusion in the documentary will provide insight into winner Jonas Vingegaard’s race. But if UAE Team Emirates and Pogačar were in the documentary we could see how the battle for first and second place played out from both sides.
One reason why UAE Team Emirates may have opted not to be in the documentary is teams were paid ¤50,000 to be involved, according to Cyclingnews.
Patrick Lefevere, general manager of Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, described the sum as “peanuts” in Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. UAE Team Emirates may have deemed the cash not enough to justify the disturbance of a film crew to its Tour proceedings.