UAE Team Emirates, with riders like two-time Tour winner Tadej Pogačar and Brit co-leader Adam Yates who has worn the yellow jersey for four days this year, have confirmed to road.cc that they don't have any deal with Netflix for participating in the filming of Tour de France: Unchained season two.
The absence of the team in the first season of the show, released a month ago, was noted as a major missing factor by many cycling fans, with primary yellow jersey contender Tadej Pogačar barely showing up in the clash with Jumbo Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard.
However, earlier this week ahead of the fifth stage, UAE’s sports director Andrej Hauptman had confirmed that the team has started working with Netflix for the next season, only for reports to emerge a day later that they had withdrawn from participation.
Now, Team UAE Emirates have told road.cc that they don't have any deal or contract with the American streaming giant.
“We don't have a written agreement with them. We treat them as any other media: they make interview requests and we choose to accept or not,” said the team.
Of the 22 teams taking part, only eight worked together with Netflix for the first season. However, UAE Emirates’ exclusion from the show was a significant drawback as the top spot of the podium was contested between Pogačar and Vingegaard.
With the latter’s team present throughout the show, it left a gaping hole in the show’s storytelling — from highlighting Pogačar’s previous two wins, to the crucial moment on stage 18, with the Slovenian trailing Vingegaard by over two minutes and fighting to stay on his wheel on the Pyrenean descent and then crashing, only for the eventual winner to wait up ahead for Pogačar.
As he caught up with Vingegaard, the two put their rivalry aside and shook hands, in a remarkable show of sportsmanship and mutual respect.
Spoiler alert: How can you document this Tour and ignore Pogacar crashing, Vingegaard waiting, and the rivals shaking hands? THE moment of this tour and it only made your preview. I wanted to be in the JV team car when all that went down. Loved the series but what a huge miss.
— Jeremy Olson (@StribJO) June 10, 2023
i wonder why on the tour de france netflix show they left out when pogacar crashed on stage 18 and vingegaard waited for him. for me that was such a highlight. they actually left out a lot of my favourite moments!
— cramblin duvet (@_edenamber) June 20, 2023
A day of crashes...
Pogačar crashed moments after Jonas Vingegaard's ridiculous save, with the yellow jersey waiting for his great rival before the pair shared a sporting handshake
What. A. Tour.
Catch all the action and reaction on the live bloghttps://t.co/0xrV9bjFnT #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/iCleK8D1zO
— road.cc (@roadcc) July 21, 2022
UAE’s backing out of the show means that gap is still going to remain in the next season, as it’s quickly shaping up to be a Pogačar versus Vingegaard Tour once again.
In fact on the day when UAE Emirates decided to participate in filming with Netflix, it all went horribly wrong for them. Vingegaard put in a monstrous shift on Col Du Marie Blanque and dropped Pogačar, winning a lead of 53 seconds over Pogačar.
Then leader of the race and Team UAE’s supposed co-leader Adam Yates also couldn’t keep up with the breakaway in front of him, losing his yellow jersey to Australian Jai Hindley.
According to reports, UAE refused to take interviews from anyone after the stage, locking themselves in the team van.
The next day, the team also decided to stop working with Netflix.
However, as is with pro cycling, fortunes can quickly change and on stage six, it was Pogačar who dropped Vingegaard just before the summit finish at Cauteret, gaining almost 30 seconds on his rival within the last 2km and moving up to second position behind Vingegaard.
But if fortunes take a turn for even better for Team UAE, will they decide to start “accepting interview requests” from Netflix? Who knows, but as it stands, it’s looking more and more difficult for fans to get excited to see the likes of Pogačar and Yates (or Trentin and Bjerg beefing mid-race) in the show's next season.
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.