David Lappartient: UAE Emirates ‘missing an opportunity’ with Tour de France Netflix snub

UCI chief believes absence of Tadej Pogačar's team from Tour de France series will limit Netflix show's reach, appeals for reconsideration.

Photo: James Startt

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David Lappartient is calling for Tadej Pogačar‘s UAE Emirates outfit to reconsider its decision to sit out the upcoming Tour de France docu-series.

The UCI chief told Wielerflits in a recent interview that the team’s inclusion in the highly-anticipated Netflix series would be for the good of the sport as a whole.

“UAE Emirates is one of the most important teams in the pack with Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma. The argument of Pogačar’s team not to participate in this is that they have enough publicity and that they mainly want to keep the peace around the team,” Lappartient told Wielerflits. “I think they are missing an opportunity to make cycling more popular across the board.”

The forthcoming Netflix show is set to follow eight top teams through this summer’s Tour.

Grand tour powerhouses like Jumbo-Visma, Ineos Grenadiers, Movistar, and Quick-Step Apha Vinyl are all on board.

However, UAE Emirates ducked the offer.

Team chief operating officer Andrea Agostini told VeloNews last month “there’s no one particular reason” for the decision, citing factors from logistical complications to lesser need for exposure.

“We have a great balance right now with staff and riders, and everyone is super happy and motivated,” Agostini said. “Sometimes introducing something new could be dangerous. We pay a lot of attention to things like this because we’re a perfect machine and the atmosphere is so good.”

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The “fly on the wall”-style series tracking this year’s Tour de France is set to offer current fans a view of the sport never seen before.

And like the Formula 1 “Drive to Survive” series that serves as a template, pro racing stands to gain a whole new fanbase from what will be a globally available show.

Although filming is said to already be in motion, Lappartient is leaving the door open to UAE Emirates getting in front of the camera.

“In the beginning, it was intended that UAE Emirates would also participate in this, but I don’t know the exact reason why they left this project. I have not discussed this with team manager Mauro Gianetti yet, but I would be happy if they reconsider this decision,” he said.

“See how the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ has given Formula 1 a huge boost worldwide. This Tour de France docu-series offers an opportunity to win a new audience for cycling. As an important team, you also have a certain responsibility to promote your sport. It is better for the fans when Pogačar also has a leading role in this Netflix series. He is not only the winner of the last two Tours de France, but also one of the most important ambassadors our sport knows today,” Lappartient continued.

“Nevertheless, I am convinced that even without UAE Emirates it will be a very nice series and that this will be the storytelling about cycling that we are looking for.”

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