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Tadej Pogačar defends decision by UAE Emirates not to participate in Netflix documentary

The highly anticipated Tour de France docu-series will not feature the two-time defending champion or his UAE Emirates team.

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WAREGEM, Belgium (VN) — The buzz around the highly anticipated Netflix docu-series on the 2022 Tour de France won’t be featuring its two-time defending champion.

Tour owners ASO confirmed the eight teams set to participate in the eight-part series, but UAE Emirates is not among them.

When asked about it Friday, Tadej Pogačar defended the team’s decision to not take part.

“I don’t think it’s a downside for the team that we don’t do the Netflix series,” Pogačar said Friday. “I can imagine it is going to be hard in the Tour de France having a crew on the bus all day when you want to relax after a stage. I don’t mind that we don’t do it.”

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That’s in sharp contrast to the teams that are participating in the high-profile project, which backers hope will beam the thrills and spills of the Tour de France and elite road racing into the households of hundreds of millions of homes when it is released in early 2023.

The documentary will be produced by the same production company that created the highly popular series about Formula 1.

Other riders say they’re excited about the prospect of participating in the project.

Budding British star Tom Pidcock hopes to be playing a starring role in the Netflix series ahead of his likely Tour debut this summer with Ineos Grenadiers, one of eight teams confirmed Thursday to participate in the project.

“I think it’s great for the sport,” Pidcock said of the Netflix project. “I think it’s going to showcase the sport to a wider audience and give insight into the sport. I think Formula 1 is easier to understand, but cycling is a little bit more complicated because there is not really a series like that. The [Netflix series] will be massive for the sport.”

On Thursday, officials revealed several key aspects of the high-profile project, including the eight teams set to participate.

AG2R Citroën, Alpecin-Fenix, Bora-Hansgrohe, EF Education-EasyPost, Groupama-FDJ, Ineos Grenadiers, Team Jumbo-Visma, and Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl are all set to participate.

One glaring absence is UAE Team Emirates and two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar. In an earlier interview with VeloNews, UAE team officials outlined their reasons why it chose to pass on the project.

“We agreed with our owners that this wasn’t a priority for us, but maybe in the future, if Netflix leaves the door open for us, then we could jump in, but at this moment it’s not our priority,” said UAE Team Emirates CEO Andrea Agostini.

“It’s also a matter of logistics,” he added. “To have a cameraman around you all the way through the Tour de France, before the race, too, and when every team is already full. We have our own camera person, photographer, and media person, so the space on the bus isn’t so big. Sometimes having people from outside, it’s not so easy to manage. There’s no one particular reason, so maybe next year.”

With Pogačar, racing to win is bringing enough publicity for him and the team’s sponsors.