Phil Liggett: "They all seemed to have been cheating"

Having long fought Armstrong's corner he is slowly coming round to the allegations

by Sarah Barth   October 21, 2012  

Phil Liggett.jpg

One of Lance Armstrong's most loyal supporters has said that he is slowly coming to the realisation that his hero was involved in doping.

Phil Liggett, who in August claimed that Lance Armstrong was the victim of a conspiracy after USADA imposed its life ban on him, had hinted that he was yet to be convinced of Lance's guilt.

But in an interview in the Independent this weekend, Liggett, veteran of some 40 editions of the Tour de France first as a journalist and more recently as a commentator, who is for many the ‘voice of cycling.’ appeared to have changed his mind.

"I hate the thought that I built these people into superstars in the minds of the public when they cheated," he said. "But if you look deeper down, they all seemed to have been cheating.

"I'm totally bemused by the whole thing now. I cannot believe it was so endemic – I didn't know it was going on.

"I'm not a friend of Lance's but I have been close to him in that I have worked with him on his cancer gigs. I have seen the other side of him when he has been so deeply embroiled in fighting cancer and helping others fight it. His other side is of course pretty evident too – that the whole team has taken drugs to succeed.

"He told me to my face in 2003 that he didn't do drugs. His words to me were that he'd been on his deathbed and he wasn't going back. I had no reason not to believe him."

Previously, Liggett had said that USADA was a "nefarious local drugs agency," claiming among other things that pressure had been put on potential witnesses and bribes offered to them.

43 user comments

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Oh and p1ss off Phil, after all you've said about the witch hunt and USADA's veracity you should bow out gracefully. If you're commentating on the tour next year I'll stick with Harmon thanks.

Cheers M
_______________________________________________________
“Racing Is Life. Anything That Happens Before or After is Just Waiting.”

Morpheus00's picture

posted by Morpheus00 [41 posts]
21st October 2012 - 20:34

6 Likes

Breaking News : Phil Liggett Shocked At Revelations That Pope Appears To Be Catholic.

posted by Some Fella [787 posts]
21st October 2012 - 20:45

5 Likes

and shits in the woods.

posted by pj [141 posts]
21st October 2012 - 20:58

4 Likes

Harmon? that's like reading The Sun with your lips moving. Big Grin

I bet half the people kicking Liggert now bought a yellow wristband - not for cancer support - but because it was a little link to Lance to show off down the pub. It made you fell a little bit special, a bit different.

There's a lot of hypocrites out there.

Like I said. Liggert's down more for cycling in the UK in the past 40 years than any of us. Especially those that have only known him through the TV in the past 5 years.

Trolls on bikes. Not a pretty sight.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
21st October 2012 - 21:25

4 Likes

Phil it's time you hung up the mike. Your comments this year including those about the merits of BMX in the Olympics on twitter and your defence then neutrality on Lance's woes make the average farmyard sheep dog a more likely cyclists friend than yourself. Your worsening waffle, even be it you did once have a great canal holiday in Norfolk, no longer interests us on the terrestial Tour coverage, I now often have to watch the itv4 show with the sound off to avoid your prattle and possibly have a live internet stream from a french channel to provide audio relief. There has to be a time when you and dear Huw realise its time to take up gardening / fishing/ charity work and remove the risk of the trueman showesque experience of watching the two of you age any further and die on air.

posted by Max_headset [14 posts]
21st October 2012 - 21:33

5 Likes

dont wear jewellery never had a wrist band something for the ladies I always thought... the ITV4 Vuelta shows we dont need Phil, there is enough talent around I'd give his work to Matt Rendall

posted by Max_headset [14 posts]
21st October 2012 - 21:36

6 Likes

You utter chump Phil now get out of doing anything with cycling

posted by georgee [139 posts]
21st October 2012 - 22:13

4 Likes

Sorry MercuryOne, I just don't buy it. Liggett's forty years of constant denial that there was any orchestrated doping is one of the reasons pro cycling finds itself in this current mess.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
21st October 2012 - 22:20

5 Likes

Max_headset wrote:
Phil it's time you hung up the mike. Your comments this year including those about the merits of BMX in the Olympics on twitter and your defence then neutrality on Lance's woes make the average farmyard sheep dog a more likely cyclists friend than yourself. Your worsening waffle, even be it you did once have a great canal holiday in Norfolk, no longer interests us on the terrestial Tour coverage, I now often have to watch the itv4 show with the sound off to avoid your prattle and possibly have a live internet stream from a french channel to provide audio relief. There has to be a time when you and dear Huw realise its time to take up gardening / fishing/ charity work and remove the risk of the trueman showesque experience of watching the two of you age any further and die on air.

I second Mercury all those in favour say Aye.

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
21st October 2012 - 22:22

5 Likes

We are not wearing perfuntory jewelery/ Lets all draw our swords and off witht their heads Surprise

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
21st October 2012 - 22:47

5 Likes

Merc1: nobody's arguing that Phil isn't a nice chap to know or that he didn't promote cycling in the UK, but his comments re the USADA show that he's an integral part of the omerta culture, which is why it took so long for this to come out and why so many people got damaged along the way. There's no place for him in cycling anymore.

Cheers M
_______________________________________________________
“Racing Is Life. Anything That Happens Before or After is Just Waiting.”

Morpheus00's picture

posted by Morpheus00 [41 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 7:22

4 Likes

Phil saw cycling through rose tinted glasses no doubt.
Thinking

lesliejames's picture

posted by lesliejames [44 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 7:54

5 Likes

The guy admitted his mistake and maybe we might let him off!! He was naieve though given that he was so close to the sport, inexcusabe some might argue? I simply just do not feel confident in his reporting abilities any more. He justified a position that was untenable in light of the USADA report. We the grass roots cylcists are not bemused. what you see as endemic we see as pandemic. There was nothing nefarious about the Tygart report. The reasoned decision was in fact reasonable. LA was a liar and a cheat and a convincing one. We do not need propaganda Phil, we live in a democracy and expect you to be more thorough in reporting events. Sorry Phil! going to Henry the V111 th your ass.

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 8:47

7 Likes

Is there not a case that Phil was a cycling fan at heart, who wanted (incorrectly it now seems) to have hero.

Loads of people do that in their team kit, etc every weekend. Phil just had a job that was 'living a dream' for him.

As silly as his blind defence might be (silly is perhaps harsh. Childlike maybe?) the anger of cyclists should be aimed at the cheats not the cheated.

posted by Super Domestique [1626 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 9:07

4 Likes

Super Domestique wrote:
Is there not a case that Phil was a cycling fan at heart, who wanted (incorrectly it now seems) to have hero.

Loads of people do that in their team kit, etc every weekend. Phil just had a job that was 'living a dream' for him.

As silly as his blind defence might be (silly is perhaps harsh. Childlike maybe?) the anger of cyclists should be aimed at the cheats not the cheated.

I am inclined to agree with you but we are talking 15 years in the abyss. Surely no one can be that dumb Thinking

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 10:06

7 Likes

Bring back Duffers!

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 10:45

5 Likes

Max_headset wrote:
the ITV4 Vuelta shows we dont need Phil, there is enough talent around I'd give his work to Matt Rendall

absolutely this. Boulting and Rendell for me.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1279 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 11:39

6 Likes

Oh come on Rumpole. Sorry Rumpo. Big Grin

Liggert's responsible for doping - because he didn't comment on it? You're right. If only Phil had taken the peleton aside 40 years ago and had strong words with them we could have been spared the pain... That was his job after all. Wink

Part of me is pissed off with Liggert for not being sharper - or more honest about his suspicions. Looking back over his career what did you expect him to do - start shouting "That guy's obviously on drugs!" at every suspiciously fast summit finisher? It would have been get your coat time.

There has to be a difference between commentator and investigative journalist. Quite a few people on here are confusing the two and lashing out like chavs at a bus stop at a weak target.

Do you hear Harmon or anyone else questioning races as recent as this years Vuelta - or for that matter questioning Kelly either?

I trust if, or when, Kelly holds up his hands you'll all be quick to call Harmon a c**t as well?

Bearing in mind the hidden iceberg that is football's doping and image rights tax dodging I do hope a few of the self righteous zealots on this string will be picketing Gary Lineker's house when the time comes. I would imagine Sir Alex's dealings are going to make Armstrong look like Anne of Green Gables...

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 14:40

6 Likes

Eh? This is the same Rendall and Boulting who've made a few comments on their podcasts about Larry but never commented formally on ITV4 about their suspicions? I love the pair of them and they are great commentators - but like Liggert they know what pays the bills.

According to the 'logic' of this string they are as guilty as Liggert of covering up doping and should walk.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 14:43

3 Likes

MercuryOne wrote:
Oh come on Rumpole. Sorry Rumpo. Big Grin

Liggert's responsible for doping - because he didn't comment on it? You're right. If only Phil had taken the peleton aside 40 years ago and had strong words with them we could have been spared the pain... That was his job after all. Wink

Part of me is pissed off with Liggert for not being sharper - or more honest about his suspicions. Looking back over his career what did you expect him to do - start shouting "That guy's obviously on drugs!" at every suspiciously fast summit finisher? It would have been get your coat time.

There has to be a difference between commentator and investigative journalist. Quite a few people on here are confusing the two and lashing out like chavs at a bus stop at a weak target.

Do you hear Harmon or anyone else questioning races as recent as this years Vuelta - or for that matter questioning Kelly either?

I trust if, or when, Kelly holds up his hands you'll all be quick to call Harmon a c**t as well?

Bearing in mind the hidden iceberg that is football's doping and image rights tax dodging I do hope a few of the self righteous zealots on this string will be picketing Gary Lineker's house when the time comes. I would imagine Sir Alex's dealings are going to make Armstrong look like Anne of Green Gables...


I never called Phil Liggett a c**t, and nobody calls Harmon the voice of cycling. Of course I do not expect ANY journalist or commentator to go public with unsubstantiated rumour, but they should report events uncompromised by how they wish the situation was. When Floyd Landis doped, Liggett's default position was to cast doubt on the reputation of the labs, and invent a French anti American conspiracy. In Armstrong's case he went on Ballz with a bizarre tale (which he said he could prove) of "agents" offering massive sums of money. Phil Liggett is (hopefully was) the "Go to" cycling commentator for the English language media. As long as he did not acknowledge there was a problem, he was part of that problem persisting. I probably will not be picketing Linekers house for the simple reason that he has not suggested anyone giving evidence was bribed, or that Ferguson looked deep into his eyes and said he was clean, and that's that. And there's the difference.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 16:33

2 Likes

pepita1 wrote:
Well, I think pressure was put on the witnesses to be forthcoming...it was a grand jury subpoena after all!

I, too, believed that Lance was being persecuted by an overzealous US government agency trying to justify spending taxpayer money.on a case the justice dept gave up on. I believe in innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around. But the evidence is out and it is not looking good for Lance even though he remains adament that he didn't dope. I almost feel sorry for Lance and wonder if he might be mentally ill in some way because his continued denial is pathological!

FFS! GROW UP

posted by festival [101 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 17:22

4 Likes

Of course Liggett knew what was going on.
He may have been unaware of the huge scale of the cheating, if you want to be generous, but FFS.
If I, an average ex racing cyclist with a bit of a brain knew doping was endemic then Liggett is either dishonest or he is remarkable making a good living for so long, considering what an idiot he must be.

posted by festival [101 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 17:48

2 Likes

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
MercuryOne wrote:
Oh come on Rumpole. Sorry Rumpo. Big Grin

Liggert's responsible for doping - because he didn't comment on it? You're right. If only Phil had taken the peleton aside 40 years ago and had strong words with them we could have been spared the pain... That was his job after all. Wink

Part of me is pissed off with Liggert for not being sharper - or more honest about his suspicions. Looking back over his career what did you expect him to do - start shouting "That guy's obviously on drugs!" at every suspiciously fast summit finisher? It would have been get your coat time.

There has to be a difference between commentator and investigative journalist. Quite a few people on here are confusing the two and lashing out like chavs at a bus stop at a weak target.

Do you hear Harmon or anyone else questioning races as recent as this years Vuelta - or for that matter questioning Kelly either?

I trust if, or when, Kelly holds up his hands you'll all be quick to call Harmon a c**t as well?

Bearing in mind the hidden iceberg that is football's doping and image rights tax dodging I do hope a few of the self righteous zealots on this string will be picketing Gary Lineker's house when the time comes. I would imagine Sir Alex's dealings are going to make Armstrong look like Anne of Green Gables...


I never called Phil Liggett a c**t, and nobody calls Harmon the voice of cycling. Of course I do not expect ANY journalist or commentator to go public with unsubstantiated rumour, but they should report events uncompromised by how they wish the situation was. When Floyd Landis doped, Liggett's default position was to cast doubt on the reputation of the labs, and invent a French anti American conspiracy. In Armstrong's case he went on Ballz with a bizarre tale (which he said he could prove) of "agents" offering massive sums of money. Phil Liggett is (hopefully was) the "Go to" cycling commentator for the English language media. As long as he did not acknowledge there was a problem, he was part of that problem persisting. I probably will not be picketing Linekers house for the simple reason that he has not suggested anyone giving evidence was bribed, or that Ferguson looked deep into his eyes and said he was clean, and that's that. And there's the difference.

Well said Rumpo.

posted by festival [101 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 17:53

4 Likes

I'm sorry Mercury, I think that while some of the comments are abusive, Liggett, as the voice of cycling does have a case to be heard against him.

I don't know if you've ever youtube'd the Tour de France, but he is the voice of the Tour not only in the UK, but the US and Australia if not elsewhere (at some point or other). He is (or was) the trusted voice of all things cycling to much of the world at some point or other. His refusal to question or doubt what has happened in cycling has only made it harder for clean cyclists. If he does not pass comment on the state of things for the public to understand the story unfolding - how does Phil explain the zipped lips?

If you reflect on Armstrong's 'zipped lips' after hounding Ferrari, or other rumours abounding over Basson and Armstrong, the situation with David Walshe, the rising speed of the peloton, or any of the countless rumours surrounding cycling should surely make you have reservations. To not do so is effectively naive at best, and self-serving at worse (do you think he feared TV coverage might be pulled if people suspected drug taking). Liggett no doubt knew of these rumours having an 'interest' in the sport. Without knowing the precise evidence I knew much of this, but obviously without tests and testimony it wasn't enough to 'convict' Lance, though made it more than probable. The Hamilton testimonies and those of others have only really embellished it.

Liggett has for a long time shown himself to be out of step with the cycling community and I personally enjoyed the commentary more from Eurosport. More in depth, more interesting, less closed minded. Liggett's time has passed and he should move on or be moved on. His constant support for Armstrong (and selective myopia) has meant some questionable commentary.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1174 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 22:04

1 Like

Rumpo. I was commenting on the stream as a whole not your contribution per se.

I feel my sense of perspective rushing back. I'm having an argument with people I don't know about something that a year from now won't matter.

Right or wrong - Liggert deserves a little respect: not that he cares what you or I think - and thank god for that.

On your bikes.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1072 posts]
23rd October 2012 - 0:44

2 Likes

MercuryOne wrote:
Rumpo. I was commenting on the stream as a whole not your contribution per se.

I feel my sense of perspective rushing back. I'm having an argument with people I don't know about something that a year from now won't matter.

Right or wrong - Liggert deserves a little respect: not that he cares what you or I think - and thank god for that.

On your bikes.

Considering how he makes his living, I suggest its pretty damn important what people like you and the rest of the cycle sport public think of him and he better care or he is finished.

posted by festival [101 posts]
23rd October 2012 - 13:02

3 Likes

"When Floyd Landis doped, Liggett's default position was to cast doubt on the reputation of the labs, and invent a French anti American conspiracy. In Armstrong's case he went on Ballz with a bizarre tale (which he said he could prove) of "agents" offering massive sums of money. Phil Liggett is (hopefully was) the "Go to" cycling commentator for the English language media. As long as he did not acknowledge there was a problem, he was part of that problem persisting."

This.

Cheers M
_______________________________________________________
“Racing Is Life. Anything That Happens Before or After is Just Waiting.”

Morpheus00's picture

posted by Morpheus00 [41 posts]
23rd October 2012 - 16:34

2 Likes

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Phil Liggett said he could PROVE the allegations he made in august. He was not one of the people lied to, just one of the liars. The idea that he never noticed anything over the years as the "Voice of Cycling", not to mention the UCI's youngest ever commissaire, is quite simply beyond belief. If Phil didn't see anything, it's because he made damn sure he was looking the other way!

Absolutely! The man is a cyclist. He's surrounded by cyclists. He really didn't notice anything was going on?

Total crap. Phil et al were just keeping their heads down and continuing the omerta...and the fact that they have business ties to LA probably didn't help.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
24th October 2012 - 12:40

4 Likes

james-o wrote:
"OK, who unplugged Phil Liggett from the Matrix?"

: ) brilliant

Ditto!! LoL Smile

He is a really silly/dim old man!

Argy's picture

posted by Argy [147 posts]
25th October 2012 - 2:37

3 Likes

Okay, so Phil Liggett should have known what was going on. But isn't it so easy in hindsight to point the finger. To be truthful, we all should have realised that doping was involved in these super-human efforts, both during Lance's era and also before and after. Please don't be so naive to think that doping is not going on now, in cycling, athletics, football, or prior to LA. It was quite openly admitted in the 1950s/60s, Bobet, Coppi, Simpson, Anquetil. etc. Let us just move on if we are ever going to clean up sport from the problems of performance enhancing drugs.

posted by sprite [8 posts]
31st October 2012 - 11:10

5 Likes