Film

Three, two, one... Go... 155 teenage cyclists from around the world are off! On the roads of Abitibi, in northern Quebec, they are competing against the best, all the while measuring their chances of one day being part of their dream: the tour de France.

The Tour de l’Abitibi is the world’s longest stage race for junior cyclists. Each summer, for over 40 years, teens from all walks of life, and from the four corners of the world, converge here for five days of intense racing at high speeds. For most of these teens, it is their first taste of an international competition. They start off with great hopes, go through periods of intimidation in being in such a big pack, and prove just how resilient they can be with their hearts pounding, and muscles aching.

This documentary follows the journey of the cyclists in the pack, their hopes, their dreams. It takes an intimate look at four racers: Danny Finneran from California, Arnaud Jouffroy from France, Simon Honour from New-Zealand, and Karl Steppan from Canada. With them, we get to understand that the Tour de l’Abitibi is much more than a race.

The cyclists have to learn how to survive and cope in a big pack, a frightening experience. The fear of falling is great. The pace is such that hearts are pounding like never before, and the muscles ache. But the racer must go on, must get to that finish line. Some crash, get hurt and get back on. Others have to stop because of a broken limb.

During the race, these teens get to know who they are, how they react to adversity, just how enduring and persevering they are. But they already know that race cycling is more than just a sport. It’s a way of life that takes over sleep & eating patterns, even one’s social life.

In the backdrop of these cyclists, the documentary reveals the role trainers play. Most are former cyclists themselves. They know first hand how these teens can accept many a sacrifice when they are highly motivated.

Shoot with 10 cameras, some directly mounted on the bike of racers, « Dreams On Wheels » gives a close-up look at what is happening in the pack, how cyclists are reacting all along the way. Further shooting was done in the countries of the four cyclists who’se story we follow more closely. It gives a sense of what the Tour de l’Abitibi represented for them, prior to the race: how they prepared for it, what they expected.

« Dreams On Wheels » is a very human story that reveals the determination, emotions and dreams of young athletes. It is a very compelling, and moving story.