Can Phil Liggett Save Lance Armstrong?

Thursday, 30 August 2012

South Africa’s Ballz Radio has an interview with Phil Liggett. After yesterday’s send up of James Bond by Cipollini, now it’s the turn of the “voice of cycling” with explosive claims that secretive agents attempted to bribe and corrupt witness testimony against Lance Armstrong.

Again I come back, why is USADA which is really a nefarious locals drugs agency in the United States so intent?

Now I can tell you one thing. And I could prove it in SA but I, I went to, I met a chap who worked with Armstrong, err, on Saturday in Boulder Colorado. And he told me that he had a visit, two years ago, err to tell, and the question was, they were agents from a particular agency and, er, they said “will you tell us that Lance Armstrong took EPO? And we could assure that you will never want for money again“. That was his quote on Thursday and he told them in words I can’t put on radio what to do with that and they said “I think we’re talking to the wrong man” and they walked away.

As you can see, I’ve transcribed the words in full from around 12m30s. Liggett is on the record saying “agents” were approaching people linked to Armstrong and offering cash in exchange for testimony and by the sounds of it, not just a wad of bills but so much money that anyone accepting the corrupt deal would “never want for money.” This rules out literary agents.

The world is full of conspiracies and crackpots; the internet has clips of alien sightings and talking dogs. But Phil Liggett is labelled affectionately as “the voice of cycling”, he won a medal in July for covering the Tour de France forty times. As a commentator for major broadcasters like NBC Sports in the US, SBS in Australia and ITV in Britain he is relied on to convey the facts of a race. He is an authority on professional cycling and his words carry weight. As a pro broadcaster he’ll also know that going public with these explosive revelations is a serious matter. The kind of claim you need to substantiate if you go public.

I think these claims could be vital to Lance Armstrong’s defence. His legal team have tried to undermine USADA and he’s fought a strong PR campaign but this could give him the home run he needs to pull away from any embarrassing evidence that emerges. It’s unclear who these agents were working for but Liggett’s “chap” can probably clear this up. Witness tampering is a very serious offence and can be punished by very large fines and jail sentences. It’s surely not something you’d make up?

Regarding the identity of the dastardly witnesses, we can only assume they are the ones who have testified to USADA against Armstrong. They risk criminal prosecution and jail when Liggett and his single source emerge with evidence to support the incredible claim made on South African radio because they would be guilty of perjury and criminal conspiracy.

Evidence could be easy to track down. “Follow the money” as wire transfers can be traced and if Liggett’s hint is right any sudden increase in money should be obvious.

 

 

.noPostalP August 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Haha love the pic at the end :D. But surely this allegations can’t be true? That would be way too sick.

Q August 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I’ve long ago learned that it would be naive to dismiss allegations like this without some serious investigation. But I’d like to know, how does one profit from exposing Lance’s (or anyone else’s) doping? Lance’s PR machine claims that Tyler, Floyd, etc are just trying to make money off of their accusations, but really, how many books are they honestly going to sell? Enough to bribe people? It seems to me like dopers and those who expose dopers have a lot more to lose than anyone else stands to gain.

Phil and Paul never address the issue of doping in their TV commentary in a serious way, so why should I care about what they have to say now?

Anonymous August 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I say they all dodge! La come clean and get more respect. He is not bIgger than the sport and after a few dozen dodge drug tests , he is a goner

S August 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Can Phil Liggett Save Lance Armstrong? Nope.

Roadie61 September 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Not only can Phil NOT save Lance, but he’s now launched himself further into self-defamation.
His repetitive put-down of the USADA in this interview likens to his inability to not mention Lance for “more than 10 minutes” in every broadcast, according to Andy W. And like Lance he states over and over that he’s passed 500 drug tests, though Phil did admit that masking the blood values was entirely possible.

Phil, during his “rounds of talks” with LA a couple of years ago, made this statement: “He’s [Lance] seen people fight back and beat the disease because of the intense ways he delivers his words.” Phil’s implication here is that Lance is such a “God,” that his mere “intense” words of inspiration are the reason these cancer patients have beaten the disease. Sorry, too many factors and variables in why some people beat cancer and some people don’t.

“Betsy Andreu remembers the moment and the date vividly, Oct. 29, 1996 — the day she heard Lance Armstrong tell his doctors he used performance-enhancing drugs…Betsy and her future husband, Frankie Andreu, Armstrong’s teammate and good friend at the time, stood near the bathroom door of a hospital room at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis…
After a couple of banal questions by the doctors that day, Armstrong was asked whether he had used PEDs:”

“He said, ‘Steroids, testosterone, cortisone, human growth hormone, EPO,’ ” Betsy recalled. “At the time I said, ‘I think we should leave.’ ” Once outside the room, she spun around and got in Frankie’s face: “If you’re doing that [expletive], I’m not marrying you,” she said. “That’s what gave him his cancer.”

“No, Lance Armstrong’s greatest feat is that he kept the titles so many years after the people close to him knew…She [Betsy] added: “He did a great thing coming back. No one can ever take that away from him. But just because you have cancer doesn’t mean you’re a saint.”

All quotes: Washington Post, 25 August, 2012

Paul Jakma September 3, 2012 at 8:21 am

It doesn’t matter if Lance passed “over 500 tests”, because he still *failed* at least 7 tests

Positive #1: He got an official adverse analytical finding for a restricted substance – corticosteriods – in the ’99 tour. That UCI decided to accept his back-dated doctor’s note for a saddle sore cream, and to not sanction him, doesn’t change the fact he tested positive when he shouldn’t have.

Positives #2 to #7: WADA had the ’99 tour B samples retested in the early 2000s, as part of the refinement & verification of the new EPO tests (no test was available in ’99 for r-EPO). 13 out of 87 samples tested positive for r-EPO. Of those 13 positives, 6 belonged to Armstrong. That UCI decided not to sanction Armstrong does not change the fact that Armstrong tested positive for EPO. Interestingly the UCI tried to dispute and even smear the validity of the results, commissioning a lawyer to write a report, however the paper-work linking Armstrong to the samples is, I gather, undisputed and the testing procedures and results are said to be valid and normal by scientists involved.

Then there’s the 2001 Tour de Suisse allegation. We have not just a couple of disgruntled former team-mates alleging this one, but also the head of the laboratory, Saugy, that did the test. However, the EPO test was still in its infancy in ’01 and not yet developed to the point that it produced clear results. Saugy classed the result as “suspicious”.

There might be more to add to this list of known analytical findings against Armstrong as USADA seem to have indicated they have some new results in this latest investigation. We’ll just have to wait and see.

However, the “passed over 500 tests” is misleading, and any claim that Lance “never failed a test” (heard in the media a few times) is simply a falsehood. He has failed tests. Several of these failures are not mere allegations, they are in the UCI and WADA records, and their substance can not be disputed.

Alan Hall August 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I think this is all part of the smokescreen produced by Lance to take the focus of him and at the same time discredit the whole case.
I only hope the evidence comes out and fingers crossed the main witness is ‘Big George’
That’ll put a spanner in the works.

Marshy August 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Hopefully itv will finally release this useless dickhead of the job he should of been outed from many years ago. Dinosaur.

Anonymous August 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I completely agree with you. His voice used to inspire young cyclists. To hear him now as an adult makes me sick to the core. I used too think he was intelligent too – but he clearly isn’t – no matter how many educational credentials he claims to have.

Anonymous August 31, 2012 at 3:12 am

It would seem to me you are the only dick head around here.

LDR99 August 31, 2012 at 7:39 am

Whatever Phil Liggett is or isn’t, he darn sure isn’t a journalist.

Igam Ogam August 31, 2012 at 11:23 am

Dear Phil,

I know it is unfair to lambast someone on a blog comments section but in this instance I can’t help it.

Chester Zoo missed out when they lost Phil. Much though I appreciated the ITV TdF coverage over the years I now prefer watching Eurosport in German than listening to Phil waffling and Paul correcting his errors.

After reading the above quote it is quite obvious that Phil has lost the plot. Whilst I can’t fault his loyalty to Lance sometimes one finds that those close to you are not what they seem and Phil is ignoring the realities of this case.

Bridie O'Donnell August 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Phil Liggett has lost grasp of reality in many aspects, but I love his miscomprehension of the online whereabouts system: I/we must be accountable for where we are for one hour of every day only, not ‘every minute’ of the day, Phil.

Dirk Hofman August 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Re: Mssrs. McQuaid, Armstrong, and Liggett, Vaughters’ tweeted rather succinctly: ménage à trois

ChrisO August 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Sounds like total BS.

Right, so agents, apparently authorised to hand out large sums of money, just walk up to people they’ve had no prior contact with without hesitation, prevarication or obfuscation offer them money to perjure themselves.

Does it not seem more likely that they would at least talk to the guy first, work out which side he was on, and if they thought he knew something but was hiding it would then maybe offer an inducement, assuming they were going to do that.

Liggett can’t prove it – only the guy in question can prove it. It sounds like he is bigging it up for Liggett who has then repeated it. I look forward to them providing a sworn statement and providing identification. If so, then I take it all back Lance.

In the meantime allow me to feel free to lose any shred of respect I had for Liggett in the first place.

channel_zero August 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm

“Right, so agents, apparently authorised to hand out large sums of money, just walk up to people they’ve had no prior contact with without hesitation, prevarication or obfuscation offer them money to perjure themselves.”

Are you kidding? That happens all the time! Why just last week I was approached on the bike path by a guy offering me all the money I could ever need to say Lance doped. I said, “Keep your money, Lance doped.” I looked over at my riding partner Thom W. and said, “We don’t need his dirty money, right?”

Jim August 30, 2012 at 7:25 pm

My god, you’re right, INRNG. Phil Liggett could be the key to EVERYTHING. Who’d have thought it?

I seriously hope Liggett gets hit with the full consequences of this latest example of bull. Its easy to dismiss it as ramblings from a doddery old buffoon, but as you say, he is after all ‘the Voice of Cycling’…

Now if only he could actually correctly identify more than 10% of the peloton…

Simontific August 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Oh dear. In my early days as a cycling fan in the UK back in the 80s Phil and Paul were my guiding lights but as the years have passed they have gone down in my estimation significantly. I finally gave up on them during the Armstrong ‘era’ as I just couldn’t stomach their shameless and sickeningly sycophantic commentary on Mr Armstrong’s performances. So I’m not surprised that he has come out in support of Armstrong. ‘It can’t be true – he’s my hero. Boo hoo. Must be bad men who are out to get him’. Quite pathetic really.

LDR99 August 31, 2012 at 7:43 am

You must add Bob Roll into that mix as well. What a sad “he’s my hero” commentary he did during the Colorado coverage. These guys pass themselves off as “journalists”. Cheerleaders, sycophants, fanboys maybe, but journalists? Help me please!

daniel August 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

You forget to mention that Liggett is in Armstrong’s pocket and has been for years. If you’ve ever heard him commentate you’d know this, as well as him being flown around on Armstrong’s private jet. Lance invested in a mining

He’s just recycling everything that Lance and his PR machine have been saying.
“statute of limitations is 8 years” statute of limitations isn’t finite for trafficking, administration..
“passed over 500 tests” well he didn’t pass them all, and he took around 230 at most
describing USADA as a “nefarious local drug agency”

Putting the photo Vaughters’ boat at the end of an article about paying witnesses for evidence is cheap.

The Inner Ring August 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I was waiting for someone to take this seriously.

Ad August 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm

I think you’ve missed the point here.

Jim August 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

And bloody funny. Cheap and funny – best combo.

Erm, Daniel, you might want to re-read INRNG….

daniel August 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Yeah I’m an idiot etc. Rest of the post still stands though.

The Inner Ring August 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Sorry.

But there’s a serious point here: if he wants to make very serious allegations in a public broadcast then he should think about backing it up. Otherwise it is just hearsay from a “chap”.

daniel August 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I would think that Liggett would be talking louder if there was any substance to this.

daniel August 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm

because I’m wondering whether he would’ve said that had it been an interview with a big cycling site rather than a small South African radio station..

Anonymous August 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm

@daniel OT and late and stalking but re: Nibali thinking Tour TT was TTT pretty sure it was R Moore or D Friebe on one of the Cycle Sport podcasts…if not then Cycling Central

daniel August 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thanks, I’m sure I read it rather than heard it though.

Cillian Kelly August 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

In other, fantastic news for sufferers worldwide, Liggett also reveals that Armstrong can cure cancer simply by speaking.

Ad August 30, 2012 at 7:38 pm

That was my favourite bit too:

‘He’s actually seen people fight back and beat the disease, because of the intense way he delivers his words.’

channel_zero August 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I can’t watch car accidents and I surely cannot watch this now if that’s in there.

The myth keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Pretty soon Armstrong will be running for supreme leader of North Korea.

I suggest this content was dreamed up by McQuaid. It has all the stuff we’ve ever seen from McQuaid.

Personal attacks
Rambling nonsense
Categorical denials: Did he drop Verdruggen’s “never never never used dope” line too?

Did they bother to check out Clinton’s denial screed before trying this one?

Dave R August 31, 2012 at 3:02 am

“….yes, I won the Tour de France 7 times, I was born at the top of Alpe d’Huez….and Phil Liggett is my real father”. ;) channel_zero

I prefer not to watch this video… it sounds a bit pathetic the way it is described here (thanks INRG for spending your time with it). But I was getting used to Phil messing up names and thankfully not mentioning his Lance-ness every second breath….his voice was just pleasant background noise. But this changes it, no?

loebd August 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm

A great and well written piece as always. Loved the subtle sarcasm throughout.

Roobay August 31, 2012 at 1:03 am

Couldn’t agree more.

Iron horse equestrian August 31, 2012 at 11:47 am

Yep, love the observation on literary agents and linking Vaughters’ boat. INRNG at the top of his game.

Jim August 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm

We need a Graham Watson photo to complete it. Talking of whom…given that Watson was so disgusted with Contador that he removed his images from his website, just how is he going to cover the Vuelta? Will he photoshop Armstrong onto Bertie’s bike? Entirely possible.

Sorry, off at a tangent there into the wider net of Armstrong’s apologists (and beneficiaries)…

JimShoe August 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Wow! I never would have thought that Bob Roll is the one of the three stooges who sounds coherent, even if it’s only because we haven’t heard/read anything about his thoughts.

LDR99 August 31, 2012 at 8:36 am

He presented an on air “Lance is my hero so he couldn’t have done drugs” anti USADA scree masking as commentary during the USA Pro Challenge (Colorado). We all have our view of the Lance story, but these guys are supposed to be journalists aren’t they? Roll and Armstrong are friends. Roll was instrumental with Carmichael in getting Armstrong back to racing post cancer. Sure he’s going to stand up for his buddy, but as a “journalist” shouldn’t he recuse himself from such commentary? Bad form.

Carlo August 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm

”anyone accepting the corrupt deal would “never want for money.” This rules out literary agents”

He He!

Anon August 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm

+1

El Gato de la Cala August 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Anonymity in general is disqualifying, this whether its whistle blowers, witnesses, (cycling) journalists- or bloggers, over-the-hill commentators or “chaps” who knows Lance Armstrong.

But the shooting down one of the biggest stars ever in cycling, is not about one person cheating. It is not a vendetta or conspiracy – it’s about the sick culture within cycling. Its also about all the cyclists who used to cheat in the past, it is about all the cyclists who still cheat and who will keep on cheating in the future as long as five, or even three, cyclists of all ages will race each other round a block for a coffee.

It’s a lesson to be learned and a message to be sent to the young kids and girls that doping is a: NO GO. And to pick one of the strongest personalities ever in the world of sport, to bear the burden, is a good choice. It’s now time for Lance Armstrong to pay back the sport what it b(r)ought him. Hopefully time will show that he is up for the job, and also the No. 1 in doing that!

As for Phil Liggett – thanks for not working at Eurosport or RTVE. Zzzzzz…..

Big tex August 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Maybe Lance pays Phil to say things like that…

Rick August 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I can’t agree with Liggett’s point of view on Armstrong in general, though he’s entitled to his opinion, but this part about ‘bribes’ is interesting. If he can back it up, then fair enough, but it’ll be interesting to see.

Either way, I can’t be too critical of Phil just because of his defense of his old buddy. Phil has been the voice of cycling for generations and the voice I hear in my head when I think back to my memories of watching the Tour as a kid. He’s done a lot for the sport in his own way and in many ways (except this stuff today) I’m glad he sticks to commentating on present cycling rather than going on and on about past drug issues. I wish he’d left this one alone.

Ankush August 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Phil Liggett, the ultimate douchebag. Lance’s cronies are bringing out their A-game in public (the video is a gem in itself)

As someone said on Twitter, I guess it was @TourdeJose, that it’s only a small community of cycling fans who back USADA’s case. To general populace, Lance will remain a God even if all the evidence is presented.

Jim August 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I don’t agree with @TourdeJose. Its not just ‘a small community of cycling fans’. I know that I have more and more non-cycling friends express their shock at Armstrong/amazement that he’d got away with it for so long. More and more general i.e. non-cycling specific journalists have been writing reasoned and accurate portraits of the affair which helps in the education process and away from the brain-washing/easy sound-bites pedalled by lazier journos – or those reflecting editors/publishers vested interests at any rate.

Tom August 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. All weapons in the arsenal of the Lance entourage. I wish so hard this had actually gone to trial, so the evidence could have been laid out in public, which is, of course, what Armstrong wanted to avoid by not contesting.

fm August 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm

the pic at the end is hilarious.

Bryan August 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Liggett and his ilk are part of the problem. If he really believes what he says, and he doesn’t, he is a bigger buffon than than I gave him credit for. A journalist that can get so many facts wrong and have a fantasy story to boot should be consigned with the UCI to history.

regsf August 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Liggett gaffe of the day, ‎”When you lose your leg your world collapses” …less than 10 mins in to the #paralympics cycling and Phil Liggett’s already saying the wrong thing.

Alex Simmons August 31, 2012 at 1:30 am

Really?

Gee, I must have missed that memo when I lost my leg, then went on to beat my pre-amputation power and race results.

Phil is hearing a voice in his head August 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm

On a side note,
if Phil is the “voice of cycling” , then cycling is terribly boring.

regsf August 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Oh, and Daniel Mangeas is the real “voice of cycling” Liggett is a punter by comparison.

Andy R August 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I met chap who said…

Sure Phil, sure.

The Inner Ring August 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm

That’s my point. I might have to stress it in the comments a bit so people don’t get confused as satire isn’t the normal thing on here.

But this is a really serious claim, a potential criminal conspiracy. If a broadcaster wants to go public with these claims I hope they bring more info than “I met a chap”.

LDR99 August 31, 2012 at 8:39 am

“I know a guy . . .”

H M August 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm

“I was just riding along and this chap came up to my friend and offered him money to say Lance doped ….”

Big Mikey August 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm

They’re relatively new to us in North America, but Paul and Phil are all but useless in commentating. They get a pass (until now, hopefully) as they were the voices when Lance was taking it to the Euros at their own game (cleanly, so we thought).

But, anyone who’s listened to Eurosport, or those awesome Belgian commentators knows that Phil and Paul are hopelessly incompetent.

jyd August 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I’d have to disagree that they are new to North America. Phil has been the “voice of cycling” since I tuned in to major US network coverage in 1986.

In his defense he has been mis-identifying riders for about as long as I have been watching him. I purchased the online package to watch the Tour this year in the States and my favorite part was the hour of live coverage BEFORE Phil and Paul cued on with two hours to go!!

regsf August 30, 2012 at 8:46 pm

My only question about the interview is where’s Liggett’s tin foil hat?

Jasen August 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Loving this Tour !!

johnm55 August 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Need to learn Flemish, because I think I’ll be watching next years TdF on Sporza.

Robbo August 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Find the Eurosport UK feeds – David Harmon and Sean Kelly for the major races (their other commentators are decent as well).

LDR99 August 31, 2012 at 8:40 am

+++

Anonymous September 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm

try italian commentry, its brilliant

Larry T. September 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Of course – as long as you can understand Italian! I really like Davide Cassani’s insights. Auro Bulbarelli’s recent replacement, Francesco Pancani is slowly growing on me as well. Even if you can not understand Italian, you’ll probably get as more out of RAI TV than you’d get from Heckel and Jeckel in English anyway. Those two seem more and more to be talking heads with so many canned phrases one wonder if they’re just talking dolls – the kind you pull the string out of the back to make ‘em talk!

Tricycle Ty August 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Wow. Doubt Phil could have passed a drug test immediately following this interview.

Phips August 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Ha! That’s good :)

pdmalcolm August 30, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I’m certain Ligget has reported this to the police and isn’t just talking off the top of his head.

This is, after all, the guy who originally defended Landis by stating he was just more manly than most

Phips August 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm

It’s such a shame, as he _was_ the voice of my childhood. But now, quite clearly, he’s gone totally f’in mad.

culinaryarts August 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm

I wonder how far he’d reached into his suitcase of (Dutch) courage before doing that interview. I’m surprised he managed not to mispronounce Lance’s name. Certainly turning himself inside out, though.

InfiniteJest August 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm

That was pretty difficult to listen to, not because I previously respected Phil (that went when I discovered Eurosport), but because he is either entirely deluded or he has been prompted by Lance etc to come out and give the interview. Sad really.

Phil – why are USADA doing this? BECAUSE IT’S THEIR JOB.

DCR August 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Liggett is starting to loose it, these latest statements go very nicely with the ones he made before the Olympics regarding mountain biking and BMX.

STB August 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm

If Lance had gone to arbitration as requested by USADA the evidence would be reviewed by an independent panel at CAS. Lance could then have then brought out his star witness Mr Liggett!

I don’t think Betsy Andreu and Emma O’Reilly made much money out of this, just a load of legal hassle, and long before the USADA investigation started.

Liggett is a long time friend of Lance so no surprise he defends his best mate.

Lance (and others) also invested in Paul Sherwens Uganda gold mine project. Just saying…..

http://velonews.competitor.com/2002/07/news/cycling-biggies-invest-in-ugandan-gold-mine_2563

Anonymous August 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm

he`s on the rivet!

Vanilla_Thrilla August 31, 2012 at 9:14 am

He’s turned himself inside out!

Vanilla_Thrilla August 30, 2012 at 10:53 pm

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled” – Mark Twain

Patrick August 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm

He may as well have said “I might be the voice of cycling but my real interest is protecting Armstrong”.

Duluth Baptist Clydesdale August 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I have defended Phil and Paul before; I don’t find their commentating unpleasant and I enjoy listening to them during the Tour. They’ve long been Lance homers, but I can overlook that. They were the voices that made cycling exciting for me when I first got started following the sport.

That said, this claim that Phil has made is absolutely ridiculous. And as much as I’d hate to not have the usual voices there for the Tour, I honestly think he needs to be fired. Throwing stuff out like that is completely irresponsible. Remember, I’m not a Phil-hater here; I like listening to him just as much as the foreign feeds. But throwing this kind of stuff out there is indefensible.

Vanilla_Thrilla August 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm

“You can fool some of the people all of the time ….” – Abraham Lincoln

Anonymous August 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm

“You can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.”
– Abraham Lincoln (continued)

Martin W August 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm

It’s possible that rather than being fanatically loyal to Armstrong, he simply believes that discussing doping at all amounts to cycling washing its dirty linen in public, when his job is to present it to new fans in a positive light. It’s just as misguided, embarrassing — for one thing, doping is probably the one thing most non-fans know about the sport — but I prefer to believe that’s his motive.

Vanilla_Thrilla August 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm

“I’m on a boat, y’all” – Jonathan Vaughters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avaSdC0QOUM

Dave Langley August 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Sad 15 minutes. Ex legend Ligget’s defense of Armstrong is based on “some bloke told me that some bloke said to him……” If Armstrong can’t be bothered to defend himself then don’t do it for him’ Phil.

Meg August 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I watched this video with a growing sense of disbelief. Does Liggett honestly think he will be taken seriously when he spouts this kind of rubbish? Obviously he wants to help Armstrong, he’s his business partner after all, but talking out the back of his head is not the way to go about it.

eddysboy August 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm

1. the big witness is Lance Pharmstrong’s ex wife.
2. where the hell is Chris Charmichael in all this?

erock August 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I think the investigators spent 30 seconds with Carmichael and realized that he’s too stupid to be involved.

Doubter September 2, 2012 at 7:06 am

+1

JT August 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

“Fat man down the pub told me”…. oh really? Must be true then.
Two words for any English readers out there, ‘David’ and ‘Ike’.

Mick August 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Jeeeeeebzzzzzus…
so now we’re gonna have to drug test the commentators too….
Certainly…Whatever F’ligget is on now isn’t considered performance enhancing….
[NBC Sports better start auditions, cuz I'm afraid of what's floating around in F'Ligget's system, plus I know Bobke ain't gonna pass any (social) drug test either...]

Solar Sailer August 30, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Love how Phil Ligget describes the “500 tests” as ‘fact’. Unsubstantiated claims are not ‘facts’.

LDR99 August 31, 2012 at 8:44 am

And eyewitness testimony is not “evidence’?

whistler August 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm

I have asked it before but I thought Phil’s got the start of alzheimer’s. His ability to correctly describe the peloton members had to be corrected all the time by paul and others.

take ‘em out to the pasture.

Tom August 31, 2012 at 12:45 am

Listening to the US Pro Challenge web feed last week with Phil and Paul was painful.

whistler August 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Bring back John Tesh! okay maybe not!

Roobay August 31, 2012 at 1:30 am

Anyone seen “Christmas Without You” by John Tesh on YouTube? Stay Classy.

Dr B August 31, 2012 at 12:04 am

wow, that was simply 15 minutes of *facepalm*

Serge August 31, 2012 at 12:13 am

Just saw this on twitter:
“@holowesko: @millarmind @PhilLiggett This interview totally diminishes my enthusiasm as a supporter and sponsor of cycling.”

Great! Having Phil Liggett make us change tv channel is one thing, but now he’s also putting sponsors off the sport. Holowesko may be a fairly small sponsor in the grand scheme of things, but it shows that Phil Liggett can damage the sport as well as just be annoying.

Ad August 31, 2012 at 12:14 am

Everybody should watch the @PhilLiggett interview. For me he is not the “Voice of Cycling”.

– David Millar ‏@millarmind

Sounds like Millar might have a few words for Phil at their South African ‘Mind, body and bike’ conference.

ave August 31, 2012 at 12:21 am

He can save Lance Armstong. As a document in Word with a filename of L.A.

regsf August 31, 2012 at 12:52 am
David Sheeran August 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Nice one fella. You just singlehandedly dismantled and discredited Phil Liggets piece. During the 7 TDF victories I set LA up to be a role model to my sports mad son – now I know he was just the best cheat on the tour.

Roobay August 31, 2012 at 1:24 am

I find it hard to dislike Liggett. He has given years of service to the sport and he really does have a great voice and rythm when it comes to commentating. Having said this I think we all have heard how poor his commentary has become from a technical perspective in recent years – it is almost as though he has stopped doing his research and has rested on his laurels too much. Perhaps advancing age has been a factor too (70 this year?).

Personally, I think history will show him to be on the wrong side of the debate on this issue which most people on this blog seem to agree with. He strikes me as someone with too much invested in the sport and, like the former champions that have come out in support of Lance (Indurain, Merckx, etc) he is a member of the “everyone else was doing it so therefore Lance won fair and square” school of thought. On one hand, there is the view inside the peloton where things aren’t as black and white re doping and there is a cameraderie about “getting the job done”, being a professional and “doing your job”. On the other hand, you have the fans who don’t really see the suffering, who look at the sport from the outside and who (particularly those from those countries with an anglo-saxon view of fairness, morals, etc) apply a different set of morals to the question of doping. After all of these years Liggett is probably in the former camp, despite never having been a pro himself, and is always likely to remain pro-Lance for this reason. It is a shame he has to resort to all of this nonsensical and very confused criticism of USADA rather than just coming out and telling it like it is.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

The USADA evidence needs to come out as I am sure it will shut down all of this nonsense. Can we get Wikileaks onto it?

regsf August 31, 2012 at 1:27 am

Read the article (letter) in my post just above. Dr Michael Ashenden takes Phil to task for his comments.

Q August 31, 2012 at 3:42 am

I’ve thought about this, too. One problem here is that Phil is a former pro racer, which means that even if he never doped himself, he had to have been aware it was going on (though it was tamer stuff than EPO). That makes it really difficult think about the issue objectively.

Roobay August 31, 2012 at 5:35 am

I think the story was that after a solid amateur career he was offered a pro contract but decided to take a position as a journalist instead. Either way he has been hankering down with Paul Sherwin (ex Pro) at the commentary desk for years and has otherwise been immersed in the milleu for most of his professional life. Given those facts, you would expect him to know the truth about PED use in cycling (overall, not necessarily in relation to Lance). Whether this matches up with what he says publicly is another question.

Touriste-Routier August 31, 2012 at 6:49 am

But it gets even better. Not that he is involved in the latest Phil scandal, but Paul Sherwen was the PR Director for the Motorola Team when Lance was a Neo Pro. His views on the sport are a bit scattered: http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=10285 but at least he is lucid!

Rohan August 31, 2012 at 1:28 am

You’ve got to remember that Liggett is also a climate denialist.

They tend to be attracted to conspiracy theories.

El Tejan August 31, 2012 at 2:48 am

Is he really? Good lord!

Simma August 31, 2012 at 2:59 am

Don’t really understand why Phil would potentially throw himself on the chopping blocks too with this… Lance is screwed pretty much every which way, there’s no way in hell the USADA would risk the integrity of their case with something so stupid and easily avoidable.

But this does just add yet another reason to not listen to Phil and Paul, and to instead bow down at church of Harmon and Kelly :)

JW August 31, 2012 at 3:01 am

Phil is like the Paul McCartney of cycling. You were great once. Time to retire.

Writing Technical Documents August 31, 2012 at 3:35 am

Slightly left of topic but if I was a politician and I was looking to remove a potential future rival I would take out the cancer survivor / champion athlete / national hero first. The Novitsky investigation seemed to be answering a question that nobody asked. Then, what seems to be an unusually large amount of cooperation takes place between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and USADA. Don’t get me wrong- Lance had this coming- but it seems like a lot of effort to bring down a guy who is incredibly popular in his home country (a country which is insular, to say the least, and very tolerant of sports doping in other areas). Just saying…

And Phil- please stop talking, you’re ruining my memories of you.

erock August 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Lance is not popular with all of us Yanks! There’s a camp who would support him even if they say him shooting up EPO with their own eyes and those who pretty much assumed that he was on some type of juice since the 1990’s.

How about we consider Armstrong and his flock’s own alleged attempts to tamper with and squeeze potential witnesses as well as those who simply saw fit to question his methods. Look at what Trek did to Lemond?! Look at what Armstrong did to Simeoni, Bassons, etc.

Larry T. August 31, 2012 at 3:45 am

Heckel and Jeckel are simply big fish in a small pond, the “DEANS” of English-language cycling commentary isn’t saying much. Defending their business partner in the gold mine should be no surprise. While they seem to be nice enough fellows, Heckel’s little more than an ex- race promoter while Jeckel used to be the PR flack for Motorola.
Neither are JOURNALISTS – they’re ex-racers turned into TV talking heads, hired to promote the events they comment on. Objectivity and integrity have nothing to do with it so who really cares WHAT they think or say? I mute the volume on any broadcast they’re on as they rarely have a clue as to what is happening on the TV screen anyway. Maybe when the truth is made clear for all to see both will retire from the “filthy business”?

Ross August 31, 2012 at 4:28 am

Sounds like Phil had been down at the Fox and Hounds for a few pints of shandy before he did this interview.

Tom August 31, 2012 at 4:50 am

It’s time to get Liggett out of cycling. He’s a Lance apologist with conflicts of interest. He needs to be swept away with all of the others who keep holding cycling back from moving to a cleaner future. He represents the do-nothings that will kill cycling completely by letting the sport collapse in a PED-induced suicide.

slim jim August 31, 2012 at 6:54 am

Phil has always maintained he’d retire if Armstrong was ever found guilty……………

Casey August 31, 2012 at 8:16 am

This is not a defense of Armstrong but a comment on USADA
Phil kept asking why USADA is pursuing Armstrong so strongly.
My answer is that they need to justify their annual budget of 15 million dollars funded
by Federal govt and US Olympic committee.
Look at all the publicity Armstrong gives them.
This is a very common tactic in bureaucracies that don’t have secure financing.
If they overreached it could backfire on them.

Jim August 31, 2012 at 10:20 am

Casey, they have pursued him and the other 5 charged because it is their role to investigate and bring action against people in sport who are involved in any aspect of doping.

The Inner Ring August 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Yes, once Landis started giving them evidence what else could they do? Especially as Landis also started talking to US Cycling and the media, USADA could not bury this.

Rick August 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

To be fair, where have they been on Barry Bonds in Baseball or Carl Lewis in Athletics? While It’s good to see them doing what they’re doing, Lance was also an easy target. I hope once it’s done they continue on with the next person and don’t just stop.

regsf August 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Who are they? USADA? Baseball nor football has no agreement with USADA. Carl Lewis? Statute of limitations. Please do some research before spewing.

OxChris September 1, 2012 at 1:40 am

Well to be fair to USADA they didn’t exist till 2000 by which point Carl Lewis had retired. Also I’m 90% sure that USADA only has jurisdiction over US Olympic committee sports, which doesn’t include the American professional sports leagues like baseball, so the Barry Bonds case just wasn’t their fight.

TheFerret1 August 31, 2012 at 8:26 am

Poor naïve Phil, his assertions are valid regarding witness’s motivations etc (everyone has a self-motivated agenda) but he is also perceived to have an equal bias as he is actually Lance’s father!…..
yes…. here is the real truth behind Lance’s story!

NICE, FRANCE, AVRIL 1996.

Phil Vader: “Lance, I am your father”

Lance Armwalker: “Noooooooo”

Phil Vader: “join with me, and together we will be the most powerful cycling anglophiles in Europe, Emperor Vebruggen and Darth McQuaid will assure you 7 Tour victories”

Lance Armwalker: “no! I will never join the dark…… wait a minute, how many €s are in evolved? and how much Euro pussy you talk’n about?”

Phil Vader: “your endless greed will be satisfied, Darth Paul, show him!”

Lance Armwalker: “WTF, get that shirtless Paul freak away from me!….”

Darth Paul: “I love you Lance….. do you like the way I touch you?…. do you?…. I know you do”

Lance Armwalker: “Get you radioactive lightening producing hands away from my sack Darth Paul…. you’ll give me ball cancer or something!”

And Ladies and Gentlemen, the rest is history…….

Maddave August 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm

That my friend was hilarious

Scottt M September 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm

My wife will never understand why I find this so funny…

darrel August 31, 2012 at 8:38 am

i really don’t think it is in phil’s (or anyone of his stature) interest to actually tell the truth (whatever it is) at this point. i want to believe la is innocent but….

ElBeeJay August 31, 2012 at 10:01 am

Does anyone remember when Liggett wrote columns for Cycle Sport back in the 1990s? Well, already then he was an old fart and a wandering embarrassment. He could easily be rambling about “cheats” and what to do with them but I guess he was thinking about Easteuropean Chernobyl types and not Sir Lancelot who he’s been asslicking for more than twenty years.

Beth Leasure-Hudson August 31, 2012 at 11:53 am

JV seems to have tweeted a photo of a Chris Craft woodie. Hardly a payoff proof. Such an item is easily affordable on a pro team DS salary given even basic financial management.

The Inner Ring August 31, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Exactly.

John Rushby September 2, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I suspect you don’t find Spike Milligan funny Beth

Aaaanyhow, PL has become the cycling version of a dribbling cricket commentator, witless and unaware of the match unfolding and more interested in the cake and the no9 bus passing by the pavilion end.

ElBeeJay August 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Michael Ashenden said it:

http://nyvelocity.com/content/features/2012/filthy-business-indeed

And I will add: Liggett is a disgrace and a dinosaur

Kasper Sørensen August 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Apparently USADA actually takes this seriously by acknowledging it with an official comment.

Bill August 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Phil has been Lance’s press agent for along time.

Alex August 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Be careful when idolising the Eurosport team as King Kelly is hardly outspoken on doping and has regularly skipped around the issue. Having said that the commentary is good.

I’m disappointed Phil (and Paul)’s cringe-worthy Lance worshipping is being copied by Mike Tomilaris as SBS.

On the basis of this interview it’s time for SBS to replace Phil as a commentator.

John Rushby September 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Agree- it pains me the way the old guard like Kelly and Roche as lionised, when they were dirty. I don’t accept the “everyone was doping, so we all did it”. in my line of work, it is like saying “everyone takes a bung, so we all do it”. Actually, no we don’t. The word “professional” means something. I don’t take a kicker to inflate a valuation and screw a bank because the ones who do a few and get caught and we root them out. You don’t take shit to win, and cost a clean rider his palmares and his future

Fred September 1, 2012 at 8:51 am

As someone who loves cycling, who absolutely is impressed by watching one cyclist drop another at the end of a stage as both combatants go into oxygen deprivation this whole conversation about lance Armstrong is being incorrectly structured. Sides have developed based on the reasonable likelihood that he is either telling the truth or his entire life is a fraud. And unfortunately this construct has missed the crux of the USADA case. They have made their argument based on people that have not gotten what they wanted out of their relationship with Lance or felt ill-rewarded for their loyalty. What is exceptionally disconcerting is that the USADA, because they have over reached (and existing stories had already been entered into evidence for public consumption) now make their own existence superfluous.

If they even get part of this wrong., Which they have by the people they have built this case around they have made themselves look Partisian. They have jettisoned any credibility they may have once had.

Andy W September 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

Lost . the . plot

On the other hand, has built-up a career based on Lance’s tailcoat and needs that commentary money from US networks…

Sherwen is no better.
I used to run a book as to when in the broadcast they’d mention Lance – even in the years after he retired they were incapable of managing more than 10 minutes

Darren September 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Phil would make a good priest, or politician! Kinda reminds me of my 5 yrs in the Catholic priesthood: there were those who were fully committed to their cause/crusade, and as a result, narrow-minded/close-minded, caught up in their own sense of self-importance, believing they were too powerful to be compromised, and using the ‘power’ of support (fans) as evidence of their status! Phil is obviously a firm believer, albeit too weak a character to resort to self-flaggelation!

Once watched him being interviewed on tv after a race! May as well have been talking in Sanskrit! Happy that I live in Belgium and can follow Wuyts & Van Nieuwekerk who actually know what sport they are commenting on!

A quote from a comment on nvvelocity.com’s article re Ashenden’s letter to Count Dooku:

I can just hear Liggett or Sherwin screaming it on air during a Tour broadcast.

“Well, Paul that church there was built in 1745 by the natives of Brunei who helped Jan Ullrich cross the Caspian Sea on a whale’s back but now he’s bobbing and weaving on the tarmac like a drunken sailor in Glasgow back in 1971 when Lance was dating my sister who is flying up the slopes of Ventoux like a simian with his posterior aflame, Paul, this is like when Sean Kelly tore the legs off Eddy Merckx but now we have a word from Bob Roll on Road Kill I.D. and the echelon is in the ditches! Is it me or is this tiny little booth at the finish line closing in on me? It seems awfully hot in here but not as hot for the boys on the road in Oman where the camels race down the final 250 meters its going to be close its Virenque! Virenque has won the stage to Paris!”

GUBU September 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Whatever you may or may not think about Lance Armstrong, I think we can credit the man with enough wit not to enlist the aid of someone who sounds as if they should be lining his hat with tin foil.

Wicked Scholar September 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm

You know, I like Phil Liggett, but he has a personal relationship with Armstrong and he’s hardly unbiased. Seven years ago Armstrong did a cancer ride in a small Canadian city. Guess who was there – Phil Liggett. Obviously Armstrong and him are buds and of course Liggett is going to stand up for him.

mike hogan September 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Phil, Paul, and Bob are on the Livestrong payroll as announcers at Livestrong events, investers in Paul ‘s Ugandan gold mine, and most cycling fans are sick of their biased reporting.

TheDude January 22, 2013 at 3:36 am

A chap provided this link to the LA graft web. Sherwen looks quite slimy in the “mining” front operation. Perhaps he will boast that the illicit activity was justified to support his Africa bike effort. But taking dirty money for phoney commenting assignments seems much less dignified than working on sanitation lorry. Those chaps likely sleep well and speak truthfully. Liggett, Sherwen, Roll are quite low in my humble book. Hucksters for Dopers… I suppose.
http://dimspace.co.uk/la/ArmstrongBusinessConnections1707.png

Aidan October 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm

“Household drugs like cocaine”!

Qwarg May 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Thought I’d just check in from the future (2013) and point out how utterly absurd Liggett looks from our futuristic vantage point. He has been an oafish, misinformed apologist for the drug cheats for many years, but now even Lancey is on the other side…

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