The Racer (2020) Review

Dominique Chabol is a support rider within a team never meant to win but does all of the hard work, we follow the story of the team preparing for the Tour de France and the doping issues that come along with it.


Doping and cycling especially when it comes to the Tour de France is something that everyone has pretty much accepted now, well maybe not so much accepted but come to terms with it being something that is just done for one of the most brutal and tough sporting events. Which is the very reason I decided to watch the film as I find anything sport related to be interesting, given that I work in sport.

Instead of following the expected winner and main rider we follow Dom who is a support rider and has been for the last 20 years, now into his late 30s his time for riding at this level are numbered and everything he has done over the years is not really recognised. All of the pace setting, wind blocking and the support to the team’s sprinter to win but for him winning is never an option. He craves to wear the yellow jersey at least once, that is worn by the stage winner.

The blood doping is seen as normal by the team as they are all set up in the hotels with the blood being put back into their bodies. One scene actually touched upon them being unsure over two bags of blood and who it belonged to which could really cause some serious damage if it is the wrong blood type! Along with that we see Dom almost dying in his sleep when his heart rate drops to an incredibly low level and having to get on the bike to get it going again, I feel as though this type of thing is important to highlight just how and why doping is not a good idea at all.

It also makes you wonder and raises the point on how they managed to get away with it for so long, I know this film is just an idea but it certainly has taken some of the scandals from over the years and used them as a basis. Random drug tests have always been done at top level sport and they are never fully sure who will be next. We also get a scene where it shows how if the medical team mess it up you can only take one sample from one athlete.

An interesting story highlighting these issues in sport and how people will do anything to win, even cheating! Louis Talpe was brilliant in the leading role and certainly does everything he can to drive the film forward. An added bonus was Iain Glen who I have been a big fan of since Game of Thrones and I always feel he adds a little bit extra to anything he is in. Tara Lee was also given a good role as a doctor who is concerned about what they doing.

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