During the 2003 Tour de France, the creators of “Wired to Win – Surviving the Tour de France” followed the three-week battle of Tyler Hamilton, then an outsider for victory in the world’s most acclaimed cycling race. They fell in the butter. Hamilton crashed in the first leg and suffered a crack in the collarbone, but continued to compete at the top of the standings and even won a mountain stage after an impressive solo. What a story for a movie about the Tour; unguided cycling drama without equal, but unfortunately, our hero was suspended for alleged doping use before the release of “Wired to Win”. The makers were forced to take two other riders as protagonists, Baden Cooke and Jimmy Casper; one with an actual leading role in the race (winner green jersey), the other in a supporting role (abandoned after a crash). As a result, the storyboard looks constructed, but the film, which has been released in IMAX theaters worldwide – in the Netherlands in The Hague’s Omniversum, nevertheless offers a nice insight into the normally closed world of top cycling.
We follow Casper to the hospital after his fall and see him get on his bike again the next day, still wearing a neck brace. The images of his last ascent are shocking and sobering. Casper sits on his bike like a zombie and gets into the broom wagon without a story.
The IMAX images are certainly: close-ups of the head of a peloton at full speed; breathtaking, almost moving beautiful shots of mountain landscapes; riders creaking under the force of nature. The story is a lot less; in addition to the two drivers mentioned, the explanation about the functioning of the brain also seems to be a bit carried away. Nice to know in which lobe a shock reaction is prepared during a crash, but the background of driving the Tour de France really needs to be analyzed more extensively than happens in this only 40-minute film. A pity, because the project certainly had potential, given the quality of the images.
Anyone who wants to take a look at the Omniversum makes a good choice with this film; on a regular screen, “Wired to Win” is nothing more than a regular Discovery Channel or National Geographic documentary; good for a rock-solid, hungover Sunday morning.