Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Clean Spirit: In the Heart of the Tour Review

clean spirit in the heart of the tour

Clean Spirit: In the Heart of the Tour is one of the most interesting cycling documentaries I have seen. The premise of the film is to show a cycling team who's mission is to not just compete clean, but win clean at world tour level. In doing so, it peels back the layers of PR to give an honest and intimate look inside the Giant Shimano pro cycling team during the 2013 Tour de France. Read on for the full review...

Clean Spirit is directed by Dirk Jan Roeleven, I was hoping to be able to write something interesting about him but to be honest i've never heard of him before and after looking at his IMBb page it's pretty clear why.

Do not let this put you off, Clean Spirit is a perfectly directed cycling documentary which is both beautifully shot and full of substance.

To refresh your memory, in one of the early stages of the 2013 tour, Omega Pharma's Mark Cavendish and Tom Veelers from Giant Shimano came together during the sprint lead out. Cavendish managed to continue with his sprint but Veelers was much less fortunate and ended up hitting the deck at high speed, picking up some pretty nasty injuries.

To a certain extent, the documentary revolves around this key event as we see the psychological, political and physical aspects such an event can bring to the team. In an age where cycling is ever more absorbed with watts and physiological data, it is fascinating to see how unplanned events and the emotions which follow can dictate the success or failure of a pro cyclist in a grand tour.

john degenkolb

As you might expect, the history of doping in cycling is brought up on several occasions. Indeed - the directeur sportif, Rudi Kemna, has admitted to using EPO whilst he was a professional cyclist in 20013. Through several different interviews, you are given an insight into how the past doping scandals has affected the current pro riders.

Although the film is focused on the cyclists, it also includes some excellent interviews with the soigneurs which adds to the behind the scenes feel.

clean spirit review

As I mentioned earlier, "Clean Spirit" opens up Le Tour in a way i've not seen before, and you get a real feel for the emotional and physical roller coaster all the team must endure over the 23 days and ~2,200 miles of racing. From laughter and joy to pain, disappointment, suffering, anger and relief, the camera captures it all.

I came across Clean Spirit on Netflix and wasn't that sold by the thumbnail preview or synopsis. However, after watching the trailer I had a very good feeling about it and hopefully you will too.

Overall I would say the cinematography and insightful interviews mean "Clean Spririt" just pips Pantani: Accidental Death of a Cyclist to be my favourite cycling documentary.

Agree, mildly disagree or vigorously disagree with my Clean Spirit review? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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