Tour de France: Unchained review: Entertaining sports docuseries overstays its welcome

Netfiix’s latest sports docuseries, Tour de France: Unchained follows fierce teams from all over the world participating in the titular three-week grueling bike race.


Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl announces its lineup mere weeks before the Tour de France and has to make hard decisions regarding the leadership. Meanwhile, Fabio Jakobsen makes a comeback two years after his near-fatal injury.

Next up in focus is the Jumbo-Visma where the internal competition is adding to the difficulties that the cobblestone already poses, leading to the team suffering from a very bad day and a couple of letdowns.

With no French victory thus far, or in decades for that matter, Groupama-FDJ and AG2R-Citröen make an effort to secure the first win as the whole nation’s eyes are on them. While Groupama-FDJ suffers from a letdown, Bob Jungels of Citröen manages to win the stage.

It’s the Granon stage and Jumbo-Visma tries to bag the win with leader Jonas, but Tadej Pogacar ruins those plans. However, Wout Van Aert emerges as the team’s redemption as they allow him to go for the win, which he does.

Up next is the young powerhouse of INEOS-Grenadiers — Thomas Pidcock, who surprises all with his fierce racing and brilliant victory. Alpecin-Deceuninck suffers a loss when the leader has to drop out before the race, giving way to sprinter Jasper “Disaster” Philipsen to emerge as the victor.

During the last week of the race, it’s the veteran and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas to prove to the world that he’s still got it in his twilight years; he battles Groupama-FDJ leader David Gaudu for the podium and ultimately succeeds in doing so.

The finale arrives and Jumbo-Visma stars Jonas and Wout unite against Tadej to bring victory to the team. Meanwhile, Fabio Jakobsen tries to bag it at the anticipated final stage that ends at Champs-Élysées, but a mechanical hitch fails him, while Philipsen revs it up and brings home another stage win.


The Tour de France is a monument of grueling sports and it comes through in an epic manner in this Netflix docuseries.

The way it follows the players, and because their struggle is so clearly evident, it’s very easy to root for almost everyone here, and that only adds to the qualities that make each race thrilling to follow.

There are nail-biting sequences when the final stretch of the races arrives and the suspense, anticipation, and excitement are all very natural responses.


Tour de France does an adequate job for the most part as the cameras follow the race and all the whirring parts involved in it, be it frustrations, stakes, dread, excitement, celebration, or hope, but at the same time the overall presentation seems drab and uninspired.

There is not an ounce of creative, much less innovative visual technique involved in the presentation apart from the boring direct presentation of facts. When it does try to spruce things up a little, it comes off as unintentionally hilarious or just plain weird.

It suffers from the same pitfalls as much other reality genre content does, where the drama between two individuals is presented or influenced with a weirdly edited sequence that seems awfully unnatural. The docuseries also suffer from a lack of good music and scores.

One of the most significant shortcomings here is the runtime, which always makes one wonder if things would have looked way more fun and refreshing had the delivery of shots and sequences focused on shorter-yet-creative montages rather than the droning use of footage and barely informative interview pieces.


Tour de France: Unchained revolves around events and people who all make it very easy for the viewers to get hooked to their screens and participate in the universal emotions that the content inspires, but it does so in an overlong and monotonous fashion, which detracts from the excitement and fun.

Tour de France: Unchained
Tour de France: Unchained review: Entertaining sports docuseries overstays its welcome 1

Director: Jamie Batten

Date Created: 2023-06-08 12:30

Editor's Rating:

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