Mark Cavendish will star in the second series of Netflix’s Tour de France: Unchained documentary alongside the eight teams of series one. However, Tadej Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates will again not be involved, despite the producers’ hopes to include new characters and new angles in series two.
The eight teams signed up for season two of Tour de France: Unchained are Jumbo-Visma, EF Education-EasyPost, Soudal-QuickStep, Ineos Grenadiers, Groupama-FDJ, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Bora-Hansgrohe and AG2R Citroën.
Video and sound crews are already present and filming at this year’s race and have all area access to the eight teams involved. The second series is expected to be released in the summer of 2024.
series producers Quadbox have struck a deal with Mark Cavendish’s Astana Qazaqstan so the second series can capture the emotions of his final Tour de France and as he attempts to better the 34-stage win record he holds with Eddy Merckx.
The Cavendish documentary due to be released on Netflix on August 2 is a separate production and not part of the more prestigious Netflix Originals Tour de France documentaries.
Lidl-Trek and Jayco AlUla were keen to be part of the second series but the same teams were again signed up to strike a balance in the peloton.
UAE Team Emirates and Pogačar will not be directly involved but will appear in racing footage as in series one. Quadbox has apparently not ruled out UAE Team Emirates eventually being involved as they focus on the best storytelling of the Tour de France.
Netflix funded the reported production costs of €8 million to make the first series. Tour de France organiser ASO and host broadcaster France Television took €250,000 each. The eight teams shared the remaining €500,000, giving each team €62,000 ($67,000).
Series one of Tour de France: Unchained was released on June 8. Initial reviews were mixed, with expert cycling fans happy to see rarely seen behind-the-scenes moments but critical of the carefully edited narratives that focused on the teams involved and ignored key moments of the 2022 Tour de France.
Netflix is said to be happy with the early viewing figures for series one of Tour de France: Unchained and confirmed series two just before this year’s race started in Bilbao.
The series is designed to entertain and attract new cycling fans just as the Drive to Survive series have done for Formula motor racing.
Some team staff, who did not want to be identified, have lamented about the intrusiveness of the Netflix video crews as they capture moments on the team bus, in hotel rooms, team meetings and even rider’s personal moments with family.
Other teams have fully embraced the series, with Marc Madiot becoming an unexpected star of the series.
“It’s about what you allow them to film and giving clear information before the race, otherwise we wouldn’t let them in,” Soudal-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevere told Cyclingnews.
Lefevere has not yet seen any interest from new sponsors who have seen the Tour de France: Unchained documentary but cited two examples of the impact of the series.
“Some American guests of a sponsor were at the Tour Grand Depart in Bilbao and they recognised me after seeing me on Netflix. They said ‘Ah, you’re the tough guy in the Tour’. That shows there’s been some kind of ‘Netflix effect’,” Lefevere suggested.
“I also went to the premier in Paris with my wife. She never watches cycling on television but she was impressed with what she saw. We have to try to show cycling to new people, who don’t know anything about the sport. That has to be our goal with the Netflix series.
“It’s like the new deal to broadcast race radio conversation on television. They’re paying peanuts at the moment but we’re stupid dreamers and we hope that the little fish will become a big fish, because what they did for Formula 1 was huge.”