Phil Liggett still behind Lance. Where is suitcase of courage?

//Phil Liggett still behind Lance. Where is suitcase of courage?

Phil Liggett still behind Lance. Where is suitcase of courage?



Phil full of it.


Today is a terrible day because Twisted Spoke is forced to do something disappointing and sad. We’re going to have to call venerable cycling TV commentator Phil Liggett a “doddering fool.”

This decisive action is occasioned by Liggett blindly continuing to support Lance Armstrong despite the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence contained in the USADA “reasoned decision.”

Let’s start with reason — not that it does much good when you’re a die-hard, eyes closed, fingers in ears Armstrong supporter. Liggett stands by Armstrong but admits he hasn’t even read the USADA report! He’s sticking with Lance because Lance told him he didn’t dope and never mind the incriminating testimony of 26 people including 11 riders former Postal teammates. Okay, glad you never went into the law profession.

Not even bothering to read the USADA report qualifies as dereliction of duty. For most North American cycling fans, Liggett and side kick Paul Sherwen are THE voices of pro bike racing. We’ll all been listening to Phil and Paul call the Tour de France and California and Colorado and Roubaix for as long as we can remember. He’s supposed to be an authority and people respect (past-tense for us) his opinions on cycling.

What analogies comes to mind? I’m a top White House reporter but when that President Bush hoax about weapons of mass destruction hit,  I just didn’t get around to reading the story. I’m a respected writer on the global economy but I just didn’t bother understanding the US banking crisis. I’m a famous music critic but I was too busy to listen to U2, Little Wayne or Bob Marley.

Liggett is starting to sound like one of those play dolls with the pull switch to make them speak. “It is a witch hunt, lets face it, because they only want Lance. Call it what you like, the fact is they only have one ambition and that’s to get Lance.” Really, Phil, it wasn’t a witch hunt — factual evidence was heavily involved. They didn’t find a witch but they did find the dark lord.

Phil’s logic is pretty fuzzy. On one hand he agrees that Tyler Hamilton could never have made up that crazy doping stuff in his book, The Secret Race. “I don’t believe it’s possible to write a book like Tyler Hamilton has done without it being the truth. I don’t think it’s possible,” says Phil. But he can’t bring himself to connect the synapses and call his long time pal Lance a doper.

Sadly, Liggett’s ultimate excuse — this from a man who has spent his life commentating on and writing about pro cycling — is that he’s too far away from the action to actually know what’s going on. He pleads ignorance of a sport that many casual fans think he’s an expert in. “Don’t forget, on television we don’t actually mix with the riders. I call the pictures as I see them.” I think I was so shocked by that one my head hit the floor and I didn’t regain consciousness for 15 minutes.

Those of us who have listened to Phil forever know he likes to disparage any rider who dopes. He gets all crusty and pontificates about them having no business in the sport and that they should be prosecuted without mercy. Except Armstrong. The Boss receives the “get out of USADA card” because he’s also an inspirational figure in the fight against cancer. Hey, no disagreement there — Lance has been an amazing fundraiser but that doesn’t alter the cheating on seven tour victories.

Most critics feel that UCI President Patrick McQuaid must go if the sport has any hope of regaining its integrity. As much as we at Twisted Spoke hate to say it, now, Phil must also be put out to pasture. This is no time for cluelessness and willful ignorance.

Mr. Liggett must reach into his suitcase of courage and integrity before it’s too late. No, sorry, too late.




By |2019-02-03T16:07:02-08:00October 15th, 2012|Uncategorized|19 Comments

About the Author:


  1. MDCC_Massive October 16, 2012 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Freakin ‘ell

  2. Toasey October 16, 2012 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Poor old Phil. It seems he’s backed the wrong horse and is finding out that he is a bit old to get off it quickly. And I don’t think he is alone being in that position.

    • walshworld October 16, 2012 at 8:57 am - Reply

      Yes, the is a lot of self-examination going on for everybody including the media. Thank God, I wasn’t covering the sport then so I don’t need to feel bad. 🙂 Matt

  3. peter saucerman October 16, 2012 at 10:06 am - Reply

    This debacle is really pulling the sport apart – now the commentators are turning on the commentators, showing no mercy. Yes, the circumstantial evidence is staggering, but this drama is still missing the one morsel required for resolution – confession. OJ Simpson, Kenny-boy Lay never gave us the satisfaction. Let’s see what Act III brings.

    • walshworld October 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Peter, the one thing you’ll never get is a confession. If he didn’t take the high road right before USADA went public, he never will. I will settle for McQuaids head on a platter. Matt

  4. The SuperStorm October 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Another case Matty of; “Follow The Money Train.” Liggett is far from “Legit.” Between himself and Paul “Sherwood Forest Gold Mining” Sherwin, The duo has as much to loose as Fancy Pants Lance does. Act 3 (not the final act) should prove to be very interesting indeed.
    The storm of the century is fast approaching on the horizon. The spectacle is about to unfold further…

    “Now they’re planning the crime of the century,
    Well what will it be?

    Read all about their schemes and adventuring,
    It’s well worth a fee.
    So roll up and see,

    At how they rape the universe.
    How they’ve gone from bad to worse.
    Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?

    Rip off the mask.s and let’s see.

    But that’s not right – oh no, what’s the story?

    Then there’s you and there’s me,
    That can’t be right”

    Crime of the Century; Supertramp

    • walshworld October 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Damn, I was thinking you wrote that rap instead of Supertramp. Lines need some BEATS. bro! Everybody is interconnected to Armstrongs financial empire and all the loyalists prosper in return for keeping their mouths shut. Betsy Andreu ain’t not no share in no gold mine. Matt

  5. @cycleitalia October 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    TV’s Heckel and Jeckel have been a joke for years. Far from journalists or reporters they’re just shills and paid commentators. Everything that drools out of their mouths should be considered just that – especially when you consider they’ve taken a lot of the ill-gotten gains and invested together in African gold mines! Their employers should can them just like Nike and Radioshack have done with BigTex. I’ve MUTED their comments every time they’re on the tube, silence is better than their mindless, fanboy blather.

    • Higgins October 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      I dont disagree about Phil’s confusion at the moment, he clearly is in a bad place. But please dont tar Paul Sherwen, a TDF veteran and respected Domestique, with the same brush. He spends a lot of his on-air time correcting Phils mistakes, and does so in a way that keeps the flow and doesnt alienate his audience.
      Phil is loved because he is an institution, but he really should have seen this coming and been better prepared for the fallout. Perhaps its a mark of his genuine nature that he speaks from the heart. He never doped, he admired someone who did. At the end of his career he finds himself feeling defensive about a wrong he never committed.
      People like Armstrong have a nasty habit of dragging other peope into their own mess.

      • walshworld October 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm

        I like Paul. In fact, I like Phil even though he’s clearly past his prime and confused about what’s happening. Phil is a gentleman and always very friendly with fans. We got taken in by the Armstrong legend and the lies behind it. But then, a lot of us can admit we were, too. Matt

  6. Tom October 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Agreed. Phil’s commentary on TdF this year was dreadful and his complacent stance on Lance demonstrates that he is part of the culture that has made professional cycling a joke over the last 15 years. Will be very disappointed if he has any involvement in coverage of the big races again. Time for cycling to get some fresh faces in the commentary box and try and move on.

  7. Quancho October 18, 2012 at 9:10 am - Reply

    I’m not so sure that stories about what people believe they remember about what they think they saw 15 years ago are “irrefutable.” A cup of pee or a vial of blood with dope in it – THAT’s irrefutable. Until one of those shows up, it’s good to remember that there’s a reason why there are statutes of limitation in real legal proceedings in real courts.

    • walshworld October 18, 2012 at 9:30 am - Reply

      Yup and it’s also even better to realize how the US Justice system works. You don’t need a positive drug test to convict somebody for doping. Read all the rider affidavits and then tell me who you believe. Matt

  8. nobandballs October 19, 2012 at 1:25 am - Reply

    Re: peter saucerman “pulling this sport apart” – too true..

    Phil and Paul were the reason I got into the sport in the beginning – their passion for cycling and the sport’s commentary is undoubtedly unrivalled – not just within cycling itself but across all sports, globally. Anyone who has followed the sport since the 80’s can surely not disagree. The way I see it is they are both in an awkward situation and want dearly to distance themselves from the steaming pile of cheating sh&te that is Lance Armstrong.. how they can pull of this feat of distancing? Time I say. I have faith in them both. They will remain true to their fans, I reckon.

    • walshworld October 19, 2012 at 10:03 am - Reply

      I grew up in cycling listening to Phil and Paul. Love the voices, love the banter. I don’t expect brilliant investigative journalism from them — their job is talking head. Still, Phil in particular was been willfully ignorant for far too long and continues to confuse the issue for the casual fan. Inexcusable, given his position as an authority. Matt

  9. […] Spoke has a great take on Phil and the […]

  10. jbdolan3 October 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Twisted Spoke jumped the gun on this denouncement. Liggett is shattered. Read his comments all over the world. He was duped, and Armstrong lied to his face, and Ligget has come back strong against Armstrong.

    • walshworld October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      We didn’t jump — he was slow and that’s okay — the guy is what, almost 70? Still, Phil was willfully blind on this stuff and it’s not a good reflection on him. Matt

Leave A Comment