There’s a lot of buzz building over next week’s one-off showing of the movie Chasing Legends, which screens simultaneously in 50 cinemas around the UK, and having been lucky enough to watch the film last night, we can guarantee that it lives up to the hype.
After a few weeks in which the sport of pro cycling once again finds itself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, the film gives an insider’s view of the Tour de France and reminds you just why it is the world’s most thrilling and spectacular sporting event as it follows Columbia-HTC’s 2009 campaign all the way from Monaco to Paris.
Behind-the-scenes camerawork is woven into race footage, including shots from some never-before-seen perspectives that capture all the colour and excitement of cycling’s biggest race.
The film also charts the triumphs and frustrations that Mark Cavendish and his colleagues experience en route to the Champs-Elysées, pulling you into the three-week event as seen from one team’s perspective, a very different point of view from the one you'd typically get following the race on TV.
We’re not going to reveal too much about Chasing Legends’ structure or content, suffice to say that you’ll see some very familiar – and perhaps less familiar – faces and that despite the focus on the 2009 edition of the race, there are plenty of nods to the Tour de France’s rich history.
Along the way, you’ll also learn about the race from the inside not only from the Columbia-HTC staff and riders, but also from the likes of veteran commentator Phil Liggett, who reveals who he reckons has the hardest job on the Tour, and also the people with whom he would never swap jobs.
And if sports director Brian Holm and team manager Rolf Aldag ever fancy a career away from cycling, we’re pretty sure there’s a future for them as a comedy double act – their unscripted and understated in-car routine at times came close to stealing the show and had us chuckling.
The film is set to a pulsating orchestral soundtrack specially composed for it by Haik Naltchayan that complements the footage very well, coming to the fore in the most dramatic sequences where, mirroring the action on screen, it builds to a crescendo.
If you love cycling, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll love this film, which we reckon is guaranteed to become a classic – it looked fantastic on our computer monitor, and we can only imagine how much better it will look on the big screen.
You don’t have just our word to take for it either – it got an airing on the HTC-Columbia team bus after yesterday’s Giro del Piemonte, with Marco Pinotti describing it as a “great inspiring movie. Period.”
If you already have a ticket, hopefully we’ve whetted your appetite ahead of next week’s screening, but if you don’t, you’d best get in quick because venues are selling out fast – you’ll find a full list of cinemas screening the film here, and can click through to check availability and buy tickets.
As well as the screening of the film, there will also be a Q&A session beamed live from the O2 in London featuring Mark Cavendish, Bernie Eisel, Phil Liggett, Rolf Aldag and Brian Holm.
They’ll also be joined by the film’s director, Jason Berry, who said: “ “This will be the first time I've spent time in central London and I cannot think of a better reason for being there.”
He continued: “I'm very excited at the collaborative effort that made this event
happen and look forward to the world seeing deeper into the Tour than ever
before. The film isn’t just for cycling fans, and to have our film displayed all
across the UK and Ireland for all kinds of audiences to see is an honour.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.