Every year, millions of people around the world watch The Tour de France, the world's premier cycling race.
The appeal is easily explained - the often stunning locations; the firece international competition; the courage displayed in just completing the course. Of all the endurance races worldwide, The Tour always takes highest priority, for cyclists and fans alike.
With the film, 'Hell On Wheels", director Pepe Danquart celebrates the 100th tour. Danquart focusses primarily on two German riders: Rolf Aldag, and that legendary nemesis of Australian sprinters, Erik Zabel. Danquart picked a great year to document the race, as 2003 provided the most dramatic and exciting race for many decades. At 123 minutes, Danquart's narrative has plenty of time for history, for racing action, and for gorgeous French landscapes. But ultimately, it's the rider portraits that make the film unique.
We share their pain and their triumphs. Credit for success is routinely shared with colleagues, and behind the scenes staffers alike. The massage tables are the source of tension relief prior to the race, and then the confessional after the body has been tortured all day.
For the first time in its broadcast history, the Tour will be shown live on SBS-TV in 2005 and it's a measure of the growing Australian interest in the race. The year-on-year success of Australian riders is part of the fascination, but there is so much more to the race. 'Hell On Wheels" sidesteps convention in identifying some of the raw, human aspects to the race. It's the combination of grace and raw power that viewers are guaranteed each year. And this film offers them in spades, in a compelling document.
* English Language Interview With Director, Pepe Danquart
* Behind The Camera
* Tour De France Interactive Map
* Image Gallery
* Deleted Scenes From The Film