For anyone not aware of this DVD, it is a must have for cyclists and those who follow cycling even in a casual manner. My wife was mesemrized the first time we watched it.
It's a German documentary that follows Team Telekom during the 2003 Tour. It features Erik Zabel, Rolf Aldag, Andreas Kloden and Alexander Vinokorov, but focuses mostly on Zabel and Aldag, teammates and roomates for 11 years. It's truly an involved and deep relationship they have, as Erik puts it "you can tell your roomate things that you wouldn't tell anybody else, what your fears are, your dreams, your goals. It's a bit like a marriage." When you see how much time these guys spend together, how they sacrifice for each other, you'll see how truthfull that statement is. It's an incredibly intimiate peak into the world of professional cycling, one not captured by World Cycling Production tapes or OLN coverage.
The other thing I took away from it is how hard these guys work for their money, even the superstars. During the Tour, the only things these guys do is eat, ride, recover and sleep. There really isn't time for anything else if they want to be good the next day, but they also have to fit in media interviews, calls home and to friends, and the like. I now find it much easier to understand some of those hollow eyed looks the riders start to take on after about 2 weeks. By that time, most of them are going on autopilot and just trying to get to Paris.
I think the hardest part of completing the Tour just might be mental. Physically they can talk their bodies into doing almost anything, but staying focused and on an adrenaline high for 22 days is quite incredible to me. For the young guys even more so I think.