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All For One - Film Review

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by Nicholas Gordon (subscribe)
Freelance writer based in Sydney.
Published July 23rd 2017
The first five years of Aussie cycling team, GreenEDGE
Australian businessman Gerry Ryan was watching the Tour de France. As he was looking at the flags on the team cars, he realised that there was no Australian flag. Australia needs a cycling team, thought Ryan. And with that, GreenEDGE, Australia's very own professional cycling team, was born.

All For One follows the journey of GreenEDGE throughout its first five years, from its founding and inception through to its remarkable success of 2016. Unlike other pro cycling teams, where money is simply used to buy the best riders and everything else is figured out later, GreenEDGE aimed to do things a little differently. Dispensing with the rigid hierarchy followed in other teams, GreenEDGE hoped to foster a strong team mentality. And it also aimed to show the world that its riders weren't just robots who rode bikes all day.

The way the team did that was by bringing in Dan Jones (a film-maker and co-director of All For One) to document the team's progress. Jones created 'Backstage Pass', short YouTube videos uploaded during a race, and they proved an instant hit with fans. The videos documented what happened to the team during the day, such as results and the tactics used during the race. But 'Backstage Pass' also showed the team enjoying themselves when they were off the bike. The riders were filmed interacting with fans, mucking around in the team bus and generally just having a good time.

But goofing around on camera is one thing and winning bike races another. All For One travels chronologically from the team's establishment and first training camps, to its first season, and then beyond to the team's further failures and triumphs. The focus is largely on the team's effort in the biggest of them all, the Tour de France, but exploits at other big races, like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Spain are also examined. Input from the team's cyclists and directors are presented alongside interviews with cycling commentators and journalists, including the legendary Phil Liggett.

The personal stories of the riders are also explored. And it's here that the film is at its strongest. The friendship in the team between the unlikely pair of Matthew Hayman (an Australian veteran of the sport) and Esteban Chaves, a Colombian wunderkind whose career was threatened after a terrible accident, is a heart-warming story.

Directed by Dan Jones and Marcus Cobbledick, All For One is an entertaining look at the world of cycling and of the journey of GreenEGDE. You'll get more out of it if you spend winter nights in July huddled in front of SBS, but for the uninitiated, there are plenty of explainers, most provided by cycling commentator Matthew Keenan. All For One is a film about sport featuring sports people, so gear up for a heavy helping of cliché. But overall this is a well-executed and pretty look at the wonderful world of bike racing.

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*Nicholas Gordon was invited as a guest
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Why? For bike riding
When: In cinemas from August 24
Where: Cinemas nationally
Cost: Varies
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