This look back at an eventful cycling season is also interesting for viewers who don’t follow the sport due to the personal focus.
It’s as if the leaders of the professional cycling team Team Jumbo-Visma already knew in advance that 2022 was going to be a special year. In the eventful season in which the Dutch team won the Tour de France but lost many other major races, a team led by Job van der Zon recorded from the start what was going on behind the scenes. The result is a must-watch for cycling lovers, which is also accessible enough for those who don’t normally follow the sport due to the personal approach.
Cycling fans know exactly what scenes to expect in this documentary series, and those who don’t count themselves among those enthusiasts will soon be introduced. The spring classics, the three great cycling tours and the world championship take place in All-in: Team Jumbo-Visma All in review, but for a change, the race footage doesn’t draw attention: the sweat and swearing takes place in the team manager’s cars, the racers deal with wins and losses on the team bus. Episodes are always at their strongest when behind-the-scenes glimpses fully take direction.
So it’s a shame that episodes are occasionally interrupted by lyrical voiceovers from sportswriter Frank Heinen. These texts would not seem out of place in his next cycling literary publication, but in this documentary they are quite distracting. Additional contributions from various cycling journalists, providing (themselves) exhaustive commentary on the most important developments within the racing and the team, don’t always add much.
It is understandable that the filmmakers want to give extra context and interpretation to the most important courses and developments of the series, but in that sense the documentary is already sufficiently structured: apart from a series of time jumps between the preparation and the course itself, the six episodes follow the chronological course of the cycling season. Race days separate from the Grand Tours are also announced with clear intertitles.
Without exception, the behind-the-scenes footage transcends the elegant appearance of the many interviews with riders, team managers and journalists. When the protagonists sit in front of a green screen, they are thoughtful and in control of their emotions. How different are the recordings of the team leader’s car or the team bus? The drivers and team managers know that the cameras are working, but if we ignore the editing for a moment, everything is ‘live’. There is no time for self-control; all emotions are registered immediately.
Therefore, the best episode is the second, which clearly shows how Tom Dumoulin’s cycling career came to an end last year. Dumoulin thrilled Dutch cycling enthusiasts in 2017 when he turned out to be able to win a Grand Tour as a world-class time trialist. Five years after the absolute victory in the Tour of Italy, Dumoulin runs that same lap (it would be his last), but the pressure of the absolute leader has not been good for the modest cyclist. “I’m just not a leader in terms of character and person, but I am in terms of legs and talent,” he says honestly.
Dumoulin’s mental struggle to play an elite sport is not the first. In 2021 he had been hanging his bike for several months and last summer he spoke publicly and candidly about his decision to stop permanently. However, the documentary brings something extra. On the team bus and in his hotel room, Dumoulin’s pain and disappointment become tangible. Only at the last moment does he ask if the camera can be turned off for a moment.
A few days after his departure from the Giro, Dumoulin manages to help a friendly teammate to the best victory of his career. “I think this is ten times more beautiful than winning myself,” he urges him past the finish line. Isn’t the leader who ultimately leads the way the true elite athlete?
all inside unite the stories of the race, because when Dumoulin has said goodbye, last summer’s legendary Tour de France has yet to go on. Personal sacrifice seems to be a common thread: it was the Tour that saw title favorite Primož Roglič fall, he saw his own chances slip away, yet he still ran completely empty for his teammate Jonas Vingegaard. It was also the Tour where top Flemish cyclist Wout van Aert was the strongest in the peloton almost every day, but he still rode for Vingegaard himself on the mountain stages.
In the impressive opening images of the documentary, the 26-year-old Dane looks out the window of a private plane after his first Tour victory, in which two F16s give him a pass. “I’m just a normal guy”, you can see him thinking. Perhaps it is precisely this lack of hubris that sets this series apart from other sports documentaries (Formula 1: drive to survive, breaking point) that are currently in fashion. The Jumbo-Visma team is governed by the iron will to be the best everywhere and always, and yet the protagonists are fragile and human.
All-in: Team Jumbo-Visma can be seen in first video.