Philip Alexander Liggett
Commentating at the 2010 Bay Cycling Classic
|Residence||Bayford, Hertfordshire and South Africa|
|Occupation||Cycling commentator and journalist; also commentates on events such as snow-sports and triathlon|
|Employer||NBC Sports (US)|
SBS (Australia) (--2016)
He currently commentates on the Tour de France and bike races for ITV and NBC Sports, and was previously associated with Australia's 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.
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.
Liggett has reported on 15 Olympic Games and 44 Tours de France, generally alongside fellow veteran cycling commentators and former 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.
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. Liggett also commentated for London 2012 with Australian broadcaster Foxtel.
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 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". 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", 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".
In 2012 after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (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. This provoked an angry response from USADA, who dismissed his claims, and a comprehensive, point by point, rebuttal by Michael Ashenden PhD, a leading doping expert. In October 2012 Liggett maintained his defence of Armstrong, calling the investigation a "witch hunt" without evidence. 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.
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.