It’s entirely possible that newer fans imagined that documentaries about pro cycling began with ‘Road to Glory’ the Team Sky / British Cycling series shown last year. When you watch ‘Beyond the Peloton’ you realise it has actually all been done before, long before Bradley Wiggins became famous for being (well) Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish was the new sensation at HTC Columbia.
‘Beyond..’ features the Cervelo Test Team born out of the manufacturer losing its position as supplier to CSC after the 2008 season and deciding to go it alone. The team was built around Carlos Sastre, winner of the 2008 Tour de France and Thor Hushovd, but following his scene stealing podium places in the spring classics Heinrich Haussler is the rider that the filmmakers gravitate towards.
The doc is introduced by robotic sounding Cervelo employee Joseph who is apparently entrusted with telling the story of the teams first season. Despite promising to bring the perspective of the mechanics and soigneurs Joseph pretty soon defaults to the view from the saddle or the team car. The footage is generally hand held shaky but this does help to convey the sometimes chaotic nature of racing none more so than during the Giro d’Italia when Serge Pauwels goes off message and leaves Sastre flailing on a climb.
Something missing from ‘Road to..’ was technical detail on the teams bikes. ‘Beyond..’ as much a marketing exercise as for the fans has some interesting segments featuring Gerard Vroomen and Phil White during wind tunnel development and later on modifications to the bike for Paris Roubaix. It’s hard to imagine ‘Road to..’ featuring the raw egg and dessert wine concoction whipped up for Sastre either!
Sadly missing from ‘Beyond..’ was much reference to the women’s Cervelo team that pre-dated the men’s team. Other than a few frames in episode 1 and a brief appearance by Kristen Armstrong in episode 2 (ironically where she is more aerodynamically efficient than Hushovd in the wind tunnel) the ladies do not feature at all.
As the season progresses its fair to say that although the supposed goals for the season are unrealised, the results that are achieved more than compensate. Spoiler alert! Haussler cements his classics results (at one point during 2009 he was the #1 ranked rider in the world) with a stage win at the Tour. Sastre goes well at the Giro winning two stages and (following a disqualification of a rival for doping) finishes 3rd overall. At the Tour Sastre struggles but Hushovd while unable to compete with Cavendish on out and out speed does enough to claim the green points jersey.
These days Hushovd is with BMC but has been off the radar following illness in 2012. Sastre failed to reach the heights of his 2008 results and retired at the end of 2011. Haussler joined the neo pro-continental IAM team this year.
‘Beyond the Peloton’ in 2009, ‘Road to Glory’ in 2012. Plus ca change!
Few problems embedding this. click on the link below for season 1 with seasons 2 and 3 on the VCSE YouTube channel.