After a notable absence in the first season of Netflix’s Tour de France docuseries, Unchained, UAE Team Emirates and Tadej Pogačar are set to play a more prominent role in the second season of the show, which will be released ahead of the 2024 Tour de France.
Netflix announced the inclusion of the Slovenian star earlier this week, but left out a key detail. The deal isn’t for the same level of access as the producers enjoy with other teams. So how much Pogačar will we get next year?
The team is not partnering with Netflix to the same extent as the original eight teams, which include the likes of Jumbo-Visma, Alpecin-Deceuninck, and EF Education-EasyPost. Instead of allowing Netflix crews full access, UAE will provide footage from the team’s in-house videographer and will make key riders, like Pogačar, available for the sit-down interviews that are a key part of the show. Pogačar has already sat for one such interview and is scheduled for another. Netflix has been provided footage from the team bus, team breakfast, team car, and other otherwise closed-off moments, according to a team spokesperson.
The eight fully-engaged and contracted teams are sharing €500,000 between them to be part of the series and each has a dedicated two-person camera and audio crew on each stage of the Tour. The UAE spokesperson confirmed that the team does not have the same contract as the rest of the involved teams. The team is not being paid, and as it’s providing its own footage, will have additional control over what ends up in Netflix’s hands.
As footage for the second season is collected, Unchained producers have worked to include key Tour storylines that exist outside its eight contracted teams. A separate deal was struck with Astana and its star Mark Cavendish as he fought for a record-breaking 35th stage win earlier in the race, prior to his early exit following a crash. The camera and audio pairs, who work for Quadbox Productions, are quite easy to spot around the busses before and after each stage, and their big boom mics have had an increased presence near UAE in the last ten days. Prior to Cavendish’s exit, they were often seen near Astana as well.
The first season of Unchained has been met with a largely positive response, even as some of the riders who star in it expressed mild exasperation as their portrayal. Jasper Philipsen told reporters at the start of the Tour that he wasn’t particularly happy with his own “Jasper Disaster” character, but that he understood the importance of the show to the sport as a whole. Wout van Aert is said to be displeased with his portrayal as a villain for much of the series as well. Still, the teams of both riders, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Jumbo-Visma, let Netflix’s cameras in again this year.
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