Wonderful Losers: A Vicious Review

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This excellent documentary begins with a long sequence of Canadian domestique (retired) Svein Tuft climbing snowy boulders in this bare feet and sitting in icy water, breathing, breathing. It then segues into a series of Italian gregarios (including one of my favorites – Paolo Tiralongo), either being interviewed on hospital beds or massage tables. In between there is remarkable footage of the medical team of the Giro d’Italia doing their job (the injuries you see in this one race make you wonder who on Earth would be fool enough to choose this sport as a profession); then long, somber shots of the water carriers and more breathing, breathing.

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The music is atmospheric and rhythmic, the director – Arunas Matelis – most assuredly taking a page out of cycling documentary-making manual from Dane Jørgen Leth, who made the incomparable A Sunday in Hell.

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Wonderful Losers is an ode to the guys you never see, but do the lion’s share of the work in this unforgiving sport. It’s probably not for everyone, but I found it mesmerizing and powerful.

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