Wonderful Losers: A different world

A race only has one winner, which means most of the peloton has a different job to do: sacrifice and survive.

Award-winning director Arunas Matelis returns after 12 years of creative silence with his new documentary feature Wonderful Losers – A different world.

In this film, Matelis features the less known side of bike racing to understand the harsh sacrifices and the selflessness of the team domestiques to compete the Giro d’Italia which covers over 3,000 kilometers in May of each year.

Filmed over several years, Arunas Matelis and his crew joined the medic teams to reveal the unseen footage of the riders at the back of the race – the so-called “water carriers,” “domestiques,” “Gregarios” – who forego their careers and personal victories for the sake of victory for their team leader. Its heroes are athletes undertaking the most difficult challenges, while remaining in the shadow of leaders, without the right to personal victory. Through their sacrifice, they pave the way to victory for the band’s stars, becoming a universal symbol of sacrifice.

It is another intimate film from Arunas Matelis, who won the Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary in 2006 for his poignant story about young souls grappling with leukemia in Lithuania.

I think I’ll be renting this to watch while I ride this week. It looks interesting and this is a topic I wish media focused on more often. Stories of the riders who pull their GC contender along for awhile only to get dropped and have to plow on to simply finish are often more interesting than the winner’s. Not every rider will get a win during their career, but every rider will experience getting dropped and changing their goal to simply finishing at some point.

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