CSC Overcoming Film Review

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After our review of cycling DVD’s we thought we had better have a look at one! Overcoming is a Danish made documentary on the very successful CSC team in the 2004 season, the film follows the ups and downs of the team, there a lot of downs and not so many ups

This not a short documentary, at one hour eight minutes its on the long side, but I didn’t find my self getting bored, like a good novel, you wanted to find out what was going to happen next, the only time I had to pause the DVD was to make another cup of tea, this is a very good film if you understand something about the world professional cycling and want to see more of what goes on in a big team.

The film follows the team from their unorthodox training camp, which was more like a boot camp, to the Tour de France. The main characters of the film are very different people, from the “boss” Bjarne Riis, the winner of the 1996 Tour de France, he is a hardman, a stickler for getting things right. Then the softer character of Spanish Carlos Sastre, whose famous brother-in-law, Jose Maria Jimenez, dies while the film was being made.

The camera work is wonderful, long sweeping helicopter shots, in car film of Riis at work, truly a pleasure to see a race from these perspectives. You hear how Riis combines with the US Postal team to split a race, not really helping each other more like shared interest shaping a race outcome, if you didn’t know this went on then you maybe surprised with the realities of this film.

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Riis has his battle with Sastre about training methods, the old versus the new, Riis has the team riding up L’Alp d’Huez with power cranks, riding to pre-planed out puts worked out to his weight etc, although Sastre prefers to just ride his bike. We also see how the team goes to Massachusetts for wind tunnel test to help the riders in their Time Trial positions.

Crashes

There are many crashes on this DVD, now I’ve seen a lot of bike crashes at first hand, but I jumped and cringed when I saw some of these, the team time trial in the Tour de France when three of them slide off in wet conditions, the crash of Arvesen in a big bunch sprint and then at close hand as Julich crashes next to the team car when he’s getting bottles, he goes from lead group to back of the race and thinks he has a broken wrist, but races on.

Sad parts as Jacob Piil has to retire from the Tour, Basso talks to Armstrong about help for his mother who has cancer, this starts rumors that he has sold out to Armstrong and will help him win the Tour. Following stages show this not to be true as the team use Sastre to attack Armstrong who then has to chase, so Basso has the upper hand to win the stage. The next stage is a time trial up L’Alp d’Huez, its 15.5 kilometers of tough riding; 1 million people will be watching the race. Armstrong catches Basso for two minutes and that is Basso’s dream of winning the Tour de France over.

How Good Is It?

The CSC film shows many different aspects of bike races that maybe you haven’t seen or thought of, my only critisism would be the retirement of Michele Bartoli, all riders have to stop sometime, but because he breaks his arm early in the film he doesn’t really appear much and then we go through him deciding to retire, they shouldn’t have bothered. This DVD is worth getting, just make sure you get a copy with English subtitles, unless you can understand Italian, Spanish, German and Danish.

8/10 Well worth watching

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