Last updated: July 2023
If you’re not riding your bike, or watching racing, why not spend an afternoon in front of the TV watching a cycling themed documentary. From the dark days of cycling’s doping era, to the epic “A Sunday in Hell” which covers the 1976 edition of Paris-Roubaix.
Here's our pick of the best cycling documentaries.
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The Armstrong Lie
The Armstrong Lie is a 2013 documentary that tells the story of Lance Armstrong, the former professional cyclist who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being found guilty of doping. Directed by Alex Gibney, the film provides a unique insight into Armstrong's rise to fame and his subsequent fall from grace.
The documentary features interviews with Armstrong, as well as his teammates, doctors, and journalists who were involved in the doping scandal. It also includes footage from Armstrong's cycling races and behind-the-scenes footage from his training sessions.
It's a must-watch for anyone who wants to understand the history of doping in cycling and the impact it has had on the sport.
Tour de France: Unchained
Released in June 2023, the highly anticipated Netflix docu-series has quickly gone down as one of the best collections of cycling entertainment out there.
Expect exclusive footage and interviews from characters within the sport, stories within stages, as well as an alternative perspective on certain parts of the race.
A Sunday in Hell
A Sunday in Hell is a 1976 documentary that follows the 1976 Paris-Roubaix bike race, one of the oldest and most prestigious one-day races in the world. Directed by Jorgen Leth, the film provides a fascinating look at the history of the race and the gruelling conditions that cyclists face as they race over cobbled roads and through muddy fields.
This documentary has stood the test of time. It's a must-watch for any cycling enthusiast who wants to understand the history of the sport and the challenges that athletes faced in the early days of professional cycling.
Icarus is a 2017 documentary that tells the story of filmmaker Bryan Fogel, who sets out to uncover the truth about doping in cycling. Directed by Fogel himself, the film takes a surprising turn when he accidentally uncovers a massive doping scandal involving Russian athletes.
It is an eye-opening documentary that exposes the dark underbelly of professional sport and the lengths that some athletes will go to in order to win. It's a must-watch for anyone who wants to understand the impact that doping has had on the sport and the fight to keep it clean.
The documentary features interviews with Fogel, as well as with the whistleblowers who helped expose the scandal. It also includes footage from Fogel's own cycling races, as well as from the Russian doping program.
Time Trial is an artistically rich documentary film focusing on the final season of British cyclist, David Millar’s, colourful - and controversial - professional career in 2014. The documentary gets up close and personal with the time trial specialist - and convicted doper - amid the organised chaos of the peloton as the multiple Grand Tour stage-winner tries to come to terms with his reduced capabilities on the road.
The film’s style reflects Millar’s interest in cycling culture and style, with immersive shots and intimate insights from Millar himself about the harsh realities of professional cycling.
This 2016 documentary sees New Zealander Phil Keoghan and a friend retrace the 1928 Tour de France, following in the pedal strokes of the first English-speaking team to take on the race. The trio consisted of Harry Watson - a fellow New Zealander - and three Australians - Hubert Opperman, Percy Osborn and Ernie Bainbridge. Keoghan leaves no stone unturned recreating the original 1928 experience, using near-exact replica vintage bicycles (with no gears) and equipment, to take on the same 3,500 mile ride in 22 stages over 26 days.
The Road Uphill
The Schleck brothers - Andy and Frank - were among the superstars of the sport in the late 2000s. Andy was the General Classification specialist, while Frank was a super domestique. In 2011, the brothers were among the star-signings for new professional team , Leopard Trek. The Road Uphill takes you behind the scenes of their 2011 season focusing on their participation in that year’s Tour de France, of which Andy was joint favourite along with Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador.
The documentary is a revealing insight into the inner-workings of a professional cycling team, the dedication required to be among the world’s best cyclists, and the pressure on professional athletes to perform.
Bradley Wiggins: A Year In Yellow
2012 was the year when the stars aligned for Bradley Wiggins: the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France, followed up with a gold medal in the time trial at the London Olympics. A Year In Yellow follows Wiggins’ 2012 through revealing interviews with the enigmatic rider himself, his coaching team and his family. The film excellently captures his complex personality and difficult relationship with the media, the arduous training required to be the world’s best, and what it’s like to achieve the impossible.
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