BLOOD SWEAT AND GEARS: RACING CLEAN TO THE TOUR DE FRANCE (director: Nick Davis; cinematographers: Nigel Dick/Minor Strachan; editor: Erik Dugger; music: Joel Goodman; Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nick Davis; Sundance Channel; 2009)
“If you want to get an up close look at cycling and what it takes to be a competitor, this documentary is up to that task.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Nick Davis (“JACK: The Last Kennedy Film”) directs this cycling documentary that follows a year in the life of a racing team called Slipstream. They train in Boulder and hope to qualify to race in the prestigious Tour de France. The cyclists are concerned that the doping scandals could possibly ruin the sport, and have formed this team to try and revive the sport’s good name. The surprise was to learn that it’s more a team sport than I would ever have thought and there’s an X-factor that makes a winner—the ability to suffer and willingness to push one’s self to the extreme.
It follows such cyclists as Magnus Backstedt—a gentle giant Swede, who is up there in age and will retire at the end of the year; Mike Friedman—who is coming back from a serious injury and whose aim is to just make the Olympic team in Beijing; Will Frischkorn—who surprises with his aggressive riding; David Millar—an articulate Brit who is making a comeback after banned for two years over doping; Danny Pate—whose marriage will break-up because he’s away from home so often; Christian Vandevelde—who surprised everyone by a fourth place showing in the Tour de France; and, the team manager, Jonathan Vaughters—who shows a passion for the sport and in doing it the right way without doping.
If you want to get an up close look at cycling and what it takes to be a competitor, this documentary is up to that task.
REVIEWED ON 7/9/2009 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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