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PRO: The New Cycling Documentary by Jamie Paolinetti
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 10/3/2004
PRO: The New Cycling Documentary by Jamie Paolinetti

By Janna Trevisanut

Last night I was fortunate enough to attend an advance screening of the new cycling documentary PRO, by Jamie Paolinetti, which premieres this coming week at the Interbike biking industry convention.

Daily Peloton readers may be familiar with Paolinetti, the retired American pro who last year produced the documentary film The Hard Road, which followed the 2001 season of the small NetZero team, documenting their ups and downs as well as spectacular racing action at some of America's premiere events, including the US PRO in Philadelphia.

Well, PRO also documents the US PRO (and is a clever film name for that), but it is also a huge step above The Hard Road, which is excellent in its own right. The feature length PRO follows many of the teams that attended the Wachovia Cycling Series and US PRO this year, which includes the Trenton, Lancaster and Philly races. Jamie and his crew covered multiple aspects of this race week: the teams' perspectives, the build up, before and after the races, and very honest discussions from America's hardest hard men - Fast Fred Rodriguez, Chris Horner, Gord Fraser, Trent Klasna, Bobby Julich, Henk Vogels and Erik Saunders, to name but a few.

You will see pre-race team meetings, startline pensiveness and comraderie, race retirees - their day's work done - discussing the day's tactics, and post-race looks at the knackered, sun-striped and dirty riders.

You will hear Bobby J. talk about the golden podium with Pantani and Ullrich, what he thought would happen and what didn't, and how he feels about Bjarne Riis, how incredibly screwed Henk Vogels was after his crash last year, which race moments of Chris Horner's are his most unforgettable (it's not when he has won, by the way).

You will hear one rider, who worked so hard at Philly this year, describe how he couldn't feel his hands or feet (who it is might surprise you, but perhaps not, when you think about it...), Erik Saunders' brilliant philosophy of race tactics, and how Fast Fred felt when he won his Giro stage this year.

Erik Saunders, Ofoto Lombardi Sports.

In addition to this, you get a very closeup view of each of the week's races. For those of us who have never attended these races, or better yet, who have never competed in those races, ridden them in a team car or viewed them from helicopter, you will gain an understanding of just how tough the series is, in particular the treachery of the grand dame herself, Philly. There are things you simply cannot see as a roadside fan, but you will see them here. And you will come away understanding the courses, the teams' tactics for the day...and just how amazing it is that anybody wins!

It struck me watching this film that while it is a movie about an American race, not everyone there were domestic riders; nor were they all American. USPRO is an oddity in that it is the only national championships that allows foreign riders. So to document this race was particularly interesting: Americans Fast Fred, Tim Johnson and Bobby Julich ride for Euro teams, while Ivan Missile Crisis Dominguez is Cuban, riding for Colavita Olive Oil, Henk Vogels is Australian, riding for Navigators Insurance, Gord Fraser is a Canadian riding for Health Net. PRO captures this diversity - domestic riders on domestic circuits, Americans on overseas teams, foreign riders on US teams, and the many talented Euro pros who come here and manage to wipe up the roadway, like Postal's van Heeswijk, CSC's Piil and Prodir's Ventoso.

Therefore it is very much a misperception to think of the American peloton and American racing as "only Americans" - there is a breadth of talent here that is perhaps unappreciated. Never is this more apparent than at the startline, where you see hundreds of riders from different countries deep in conversation with fellow competitors - regardless of your strip or nationality, these are your fellows and you all have the same job to do. The World Championship Elite Men's Road Race today, with Chris Horner at the front - and finishing 8th - could not bring home this point any better.

Chris Horner, Webcor Builders.

PRO will enlighten and captivate you, whether you are an avid American race circuit fan, or don't even know most US domestic racers' names. The mix of race action and rider interview in this film could not be more comprehensive - it is almost to the point of uncanniness. But in fact, this is no accident: Paolinetti has ridden Philly a dozen times. Who better to capture this subject than a seasoned veteran? Chatting after the film, Jamie told us that from experience he knew the possible race outcome combinations, so he knew who to tap for interviews and who to follow during the race. After that it was just a matter of seeing how it came together. He was spot on.

He also wanted to show things that really are rarely seen in typical televised race coverage, such as the agonizing race back through the cars for a rider after a mechanical. PRO shows the ballet of rolling steel and lycra as a rider chases, passes, chases, passes, along the winding course. Jamie told us last night that this is by far one of the most dangerous things a rider has to do. As grim illustration, he told us about when Davis Phinney was chasing back in a race - he looked down for just a moment, the exact moment in which the support car just in front of him hit the brakes. Phinney flew through the rear window of the vehicle, shattering the glass and his face...which might possibly be a factor in Davis' physical difficulties now.

So, not to spoil it for you, I won't say any more. But if you will be at Interbike, get a pass to the premiere. The premiere is October 7th at 4pm, in the Casanova rooms 605-606 at the Sands Expo. However, I warn you - last year's The Hard Road screening at Interbike was a packed house with people lining the walls and spilling out the doorway, so get your seat early.

If Las Vegas is not in the cards for you this week, so to speak, then check the Daily Peloton for ordering and purchase information - the film will go on sale in the next month or so and we will keep you informed.

Bobby Julich, Team CSC.

For information about attending this week's Interbike premiere, contact Jaime Nichols, or visit the PRO website at

By Vaun Trevi

Jamie Paolinetti does it again, bringing the reality of being a professional rider and the spectacle of "Philly Week" to the screen. In a feature length film, Paolinetti documents the Philadelphia trilogy of races - Trenton, Lancaster and Wachovia US Professional Championship of 2004.

The viewer is treated to an inside look at the pre-race preparations where the field commanders of each team map out their strategies, and exclusive, in-depth interviews of the riders which reach deep, reflecting that a former pro rider is interviewing his former opposition. Add in a dimension of reality that makes one recall facing off one's opposition as you approach the start line - the sensations of pre-race jitters returned to me as I watched the film.

The opening sequence of the riders on the start at Philidelphia shows the intensity of emotion on their faces. The riders' emotional cascade is as palpable as walking through the peloton, waiting for the start gun to go off. Jamie Paolinetti and his colleagues have made not only a visually dynamic film that transports one to the race, but clears the vacuum of what goes on by way of preparation in each team. More than behind the scenes, it is "the scene" as it unfolds during Philly week, when the best America has to offer meets on the field of battle with top European pro riders.

The quality of the music and cinematography only add to the experience, increasing the tension and excitement. I rate it a must see, and like The Hard Road, soon to be a must have for your movie collection.



Jonas Carney.

Henk Vogels in the turn leading up the the Manayunk wall.

Health Net after Philly.

Mark McCormack.

Pate and Sayers having a joke.

Guennadi Mikhailov and Mike Creed at Trenton.

Fred Rodriguez and Chris Horner at the startline.

Two Mikes - Jones (Health Net) and Creed (Postal) at the startline.


Henk Vogels.

Up the Manayunk Wall at US PRO.

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