15 cycling documentaries you really should watch
As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world, bike races everywhere have been cancelled. The dedicated cycling fan has been left with virtually no racing to watch at all, at what is normally one of the best times of the year to be a cycling fan. But fear not — there’s a wealth of great cycling content out there that you probably haven’t seen, that should tide you over until we return to something resembling normality.
This article is a collection of some of cycling’s greatest documentaries. It’s far from an exhaustive list, clearly, but if you’re keen to go behind-the-scenes of our wonderful sport — and specifically the racing side — then you can do far worse than the films you see below. Thanks to Keith Dougal for many of the suggestions you see below!
A Sunday in Hell
An iconic Danish film that chronicles the 1976 Paris-Roubaix with a focus on Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck (the previous year’s winner), Freddy Maertens, and Francesco Moser.
Hell on wheels
A terrific German film that documents the 2003 Tour de France — the race’s 100th anniversary edition — from the perspective of Germany’s Team Telekom, with a focus on sprinter Erik Zabel.
Released in 2005, this documentary follows Bjarne Riis and his Team CSC on the tough road to finishing third at the 2004 Tour de France with Ivan Basso.
Road to Glory – Team Sky
A five-part docuseries that reveals the inner workings of Team Sky and British Cycling in the lead up to the 2012 Tour de France and Olympics.
Rough Rider – Paul Kimmage
Follows renowned cycling journalist Paul Kimmage as he questions how far cycling has come to free itself from doping since the release of his 1990 book, Rough Ride. Filmed over two years, it includes the fall of Lance Armstrong for doping offences in 2012.
23 Days in July
Follows legendary Australian cyclist Phil Anderson in his battle to win the 1983 Tour de France, a race eventually won by Frenchman Laurent Fignon.
1991 Motorola Team Documentary
Phil Liggett goes behind the scenes with the Motorola team as the squad tackles the 1991 Spring Classics season.
The High Life – A Year in the Life of Robert Millar
A documentary that followed Robert Millar throughout the 1985 season.
Geraint Thomas – The Road Will Decide
A BBC film that tracks Geraint Thomas at the brilliant 2019 Tour de France as he tries to defend his title.
Cadel Evans: The Road to Glory
ESPN chronicles the journey of Aussie cyclist Cadel Evans, the former mountain bike turned road cyclist who went on to win the 2011 Tour de France. Full of insight from Evans on what it takes to succeed in the world of cycling.
Road to Paris
Produced by Nike, this film documents Lance Armstrong’s build-up to the 2001 Tour de France where he was aiming to win a third-straight title.
The Quest: The Story of the 2003 Giro d’Italia
A behind-the-scenes film that follows the Saeco Cannondale team and its leader Gilberto Simoni as they set out to take the Italian’s second Giro title.
A film the focuses on the sacrifices of unheralded team domestiques, with a focus on the Giro d’Italia. Join VeloClub to see this for free with your membership.
Bradley Wiggins: A Year in Yellow
A documentary following Bradley Wiggins in his golden 2012 season, in which he won the Tour de France and the Olympic Games individual time trial.
The Stars and the Water Cariers
A behind-the-scenes look at the 1973 Giro d’Italia in which Eddy Merckx was going for his fourth overall title.
What other cycling documentaries do you adore? What are the absolute must-watch doco films for a die-hard cycling fan? Let us know in the comments below!