Phil Liggett

Philip Alexander Liggett

Phil Liggett commentating at the 2010 Bay Cycling Classic

Commentating at the 2010 Bay Cycling Classic
Born (1943-08-11) 11 August 1943
Bebington, Cheshire, England, UK
Residence Bayford, Hertfordshire and South Africa
Nationality British
Occupation Cycling commentator and journalist; also commentates on events such as snow-sports and triathlon[1]
Years active 1967–present
Employer ITV (UK)
NBC Sports(US)
SBS (Australia)
Style Play-by-play
Television Tour de France
Summer Olympics
Winter Olympics
World Championships

Philip 'Phil' Alexander Liggett, MBE (born 11 August 1943) is an English commentator and journalist who covers professional cycling.

He currently commentates on the Tour de France and bike races for ITV, NBC Sports and SBS. He is a former amateur cyclist and received a professional contract in 1967; instead of turning professional, he saw a future in sports journalism after writing articles in cycling magazines about races in which he participated.[2]


Liggett initially wrote for Cycling magazine, and moved on to do freelance work for The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and The Observer. In 1997, he was appointed Cycle Sport magazine's international editor. He has also written books on cycle racing.[3]

Liggett has reported on 15 Olympic Games and 44 Tours de France, generally alongside fellow veteran cycling commentators and former Tour de France cyclists Paul Sherwen (UK) and Bob Roll (US). Liggett has covered other sports including triathlons and ski jumping. Because of his varied assignments, Liggett has worked for all of the American Big Three networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC.[4]

Liggett has also been associated with the Australian network SBS covering Australian events such as the Tour Down Under in addition to the Tour de France. In 2010, he covered Johannesburg's 94.7 Cycle Challenge for South Africa's SuperSport.[4] Liggett also commentated for London 2012 with Australian broadcaster Foxtel, commentating all cycling type events.

Liggett is known for colourful expressions about riders or racing conditions with often literary overtones. A collection of these "Liggettisms" was published in 2005.[5]


Between 1972 and 1993, Liggett was technical director of the Milk Race. His involvement with organising cycle racing events led to his becoming vice-president of the Association Internationale Organisateurs des Courses Cycliste. In 1973, age 30, Liggett became the youngest ever UCI international commissaire.

Liggett has been president of the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC), Britain's national cyclists' organisation.[6]

In 2009, he was inducted into the British Cycling Hall of Fame.[7]

Defence of Lance Armstrong

Liggett was a long-time supporter of Lance Armstrong and was a regular speaker at "Livestrong" functions along with his Tour De France co-presenter Paul Sherwen. He repeatedly defended Armstrong, challenging the investigations which he called "a waste of money".[8] When Floyd Landis tested positive at the 2006 Tour de France Liggett denigrated the verdict saying "The fact that the lab knew whose sample it was testing is just one of the anomalies",[9] but when Landis admitted to doping in 2010 and implicated Armstrong, Liggett dismissed it as "sour grapes" and called the accusations "ridiculous". He also stated that UCI President Pat McQuaid was "vehemently anti doping".[10]

In 2012 after USADA had stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France titles, Liggett claimed on South African Radio to have proof that unnamed politicians motivated by jealousy had fabricated the evidence against Armstrong by bribing witnesses.[11] This provoked an angry response from USADA, who dismissed his claims,[12] and a comprehensive, point by point, rebuttal by Michael Ashenden PhD, a leading doping expert.[13] In October 2012 Liggett maintained his defence of Armstrong, calling the investigation a "witch hunt" without evidence.[14] Later that month, in a documentary by ABC's Four Corners entitled "The World According to Lance", he stated that he now found it difficult to believe that Armstrong had never doped and that he was disappointed that Armstrong had lied to him in 2003 when asked about doping.[15][16]

Personal life

Liggett's home town is Bebington, Wirral, though he now lives in Bayford, Hertfordshire. He spends most of his leisure time in South Africa where he has a house in the Western Cape and a game farm near the Kruger National Park.

In 2005, Liggett was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to cycling.[17][18]



  1. "Experts and Opinions: Phil Liggett". ninemsn Pty Ltd. 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  2. "WIRED TO WIN: Surviving the Tour de France — The Official Website". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  3. "Phil Liggett: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  4. 1 2 "Outdoors Inc". Outdoors Inc. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  5. "Dancing on the Pedals: The Found Poetry of Phil Liggett, the Voice of Cycling". Breakaway Books. 1 July 2005.
  6. Pestes, Richard. "Phil Liggett: The Pez-Clusive Interview". Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  7. "Report: 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner & Annual Awards". British Cycling. 21 February 2010. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  8. Daniel Benson. "Liggett on Armstrong: The whole investigation was a waste of money".
  9. "Phil Liggett skeptical about Floyd Landis case".
  10. Video on YouTube
  11. Ballz Visual Radio. "Sport – Ballz speak to Phil Liggett about Lance Armstrong being stripped of ti".
  12. Cycling News. "USADA responds to Liggett's claims of bribery in Armstrong case".
  14. Daniel Benson. "Despite USADA's evidence Liggett remains Armstrong's supporter".
  15. Shane Stokes (15 October 2012). "Liggett admits he now finds it very difficult not to believe Armstrong took drugs". Velo Nation. Velo Nation LLC. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  16. "Phil Liggett interview". ABC News. ABC. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57665. p. B18. 11 June 2005.
  18. "MBE announcement from CTC website". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
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