Phil Liggett says Lance Armstrong's accusers were motivated by jealousy

Veteran commentator also insists South Australia government got value for money on appearance fees it paid

by Simon_MacMichael   January 21, 2013  

Phil Liggett.jpg

Veteran commentator Phil Liggett says that Lance Armstrong’s accusers were motivated by jealousy and that the South Australian government’s decision to pay the rider millions of dollars to come and ride the Tour Down Under was money well spent.

"There was a jealousy in the team," said Liggett, quoted on Adelaide Now. It was not reported whether he mentioned anyone by name, but he was presumably referring to the former US Postal team mates of Armstrong who had testified against him to the United States Anti Doping Agency.

"Why did his best mates all of a sudden go against him? I think Lance was keeping the biggest slice of the cake and living the lifestyle of an 'A' class celebrity," he went on.

Liggett made his comments at the South Australia Press Club in Adelaide ahead of the start of the 2013 edition of the race, which he is commentating on alongside Paul Sherwen.

Blood doping expert Michael Ashenden has accused the Tour Down Under of “prostituting itself” through the appearance fees it paid Armstrong.

But Liggett insists the South Australia government was in the same position as Armstrong’s former sponsors such as Nike in that they had all benefited from their association with him prior to his fall from grace, saying, “

In the case of South Australia, he maintained, the investment of sums estimated at between A$3 million and A$9 million in the three years Armstrong rode the race had been money well spent.

“I think Lance gave them their money's worth even though it wasn't quite in the way we thought," he added.

Liggett prospered during the Armstrong years as his and Sherwen’s commentary became syndicated in English-speaking countries worldwide, including the United States.

He seemed slower than most media figures to come round to the idea that the cyclist might be guilty of doping, last year branding USADA as a “nefarious local drugs agency.”

Sherwen formerly worked as a press officer at Motorola, Armstrong’s team in the mid-1990s, and the rider and, it is thought, Liggett, invested in a gold mine run by Sherwen in Uganda.

With their voices familiar to cycling fans in the United States as a result of their Tour de France commentary, both Sherwen and Liggett have been paid to speak at fundraisers for Livestrong, the charity founded by Armstrong.

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It seems pretty clear that Landis and Hamilton at least were in no way motivated by "jealousy". Rather, they eventually blew off steam because they simply did not want to keep lying. Lance pretends he feels the same, but it isn't terribly convincing.

And George Hincapie was so "jealous" of Lance that he loyaly stayed put on the man's teams for years.

posted by BigDummy [280 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 11:55

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Sam1 no this is not going to unleash a tirade of any type - to the best of my knowledge, you appear to be correct when you state that Walsh/Ballester did more investigative journalism whilst Kimmage stood up and joined some of the dots that these investigations threw up. It doesn't take away from the fact that he was one of the very few to publicly stand up to Lance, nor does it take away from the comment that he is a high quality journalist who also writes excellent pieces away from cycling. He never needed Lance to survive, period. And he doesn't need Wiggo to survive either - he will carry on doing high quality journalism for quite a while, me thinks. And no, I don't think you are seeking to bismirch him.

I have my own concerns about Kimmage's approach, but he is a very good writer. Have you read 'Engage' yet?

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 12:06

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You'd have thought working in media that they ought to know when to keep their views to themselves.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [264 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 12:09

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Phil Liggett - never mind the LA debate, he's just past it, has been for a few years now. His commentary has been woeful verging on cringeworthy - missing breaks or other race action, confusing the identity of riders, mis-pronouncing names.

Problem is he's a "name". It's Paul and Phil who between them conquered the entire US cycling commentary market thanks to LA.

Never underestimate just how interlinked everyone is in this. A lot of people seem to think LA = archvillain but the network is far far murkier than that. Have a look at this link - LA and his associates pretty much run US Cycling, a lot of the media and have a huge influence in politics. It's hardly surprising Phil has been defending him to the hilt.
http://www.cyclismas.com/2012/06/lance-armstrongs-business-links-a-flowc...

posted by crazy-legs [489 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 12:13

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If they were motivated by jealousy then surely this would have come out years ago. Most seem to have been keen to clear their name all for the cost of a 6 month out of season suspension and possible book contracts. Thos who ride with him were happy to ride in the strongest, most successful team and presumably share teh high winnings and annual contracts.

I have heard people say that LA has been lying for over 15 years hence his inability to realise how much damage he had done to those who stood in his path. He will show little empathy for a good while.

In the same vein, Phil Liggett has been LA's vocal supporter for almost as long. He cannot see LA as a criminal with huger personality defects. He was a member of his inner circle after all. He needs to say sorry just as much as Lance does and with conviction.

If I was only half as good as I am in my own mind.

posted by JulesW [24 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 12:23

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The ill-informed tabloid layman nature of many of these knee-jerking comments is a warm testament to how widely popular big money pro cycling has become. It's a business and a brand, just like Formula 1, snooker, or Big Daddy pro wrestling, and it'd be naive to think there's not a heap of pragmatic decisions being made within the races as well as the sport, even now.

Those saying they'll choose another commentator based on doping stance might want to read about those other commentators' own pasts a little.

posted by vbvb [225 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 13:29

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vbvb wrote:
The ill-informed tabloid layman nature of many of these knee-jerking comments is a warm testament to how widely popular big money pro cycling has become. It's a business and a brand, just like Formula 1, snooker, or Big Daddy pro wrestling, and it'd be naive to think there's not a heap of pragmatic decisions being made within the races as well as the sport, even now.

Those saying they'll choose another commentator based on doping stance might want to read about those other commentators' own pasts a little.

What dirty secrets do Dave Harmon and Carlton Kirby harbour? You've got me worried now Smile

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 14:02

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I suppose you're referencing Sean Kelly's prominence in the latest David Walshe outing?

I don't think many of these comments are ill-informed. Many people have repeatedly said they dislike Liggett and Sherwen. I prefer Eurosport everyday of the week, but I can't be bothered with purchasing the Sky package.

You are right that people have protected the brand, and some comments (e.g. those of Eddy Merckx claiming to be shocked about Armstrong, even after having introduced him to Dr Michele Ferrari) appear to be tremendously naive.

Cycling is such a lucrative sport these days because of Armstrong, and it has become a multi-million pound industry because of his backers. But for those of us who followed cycling before Armstrong, before the Festina affair saw Armstrong's performance, read Walshe's articles and knew the truth, and saw how Armstrong (in particular) crushed cycling. Liggett in particular is such a self-interested insular donkey that he has nothing interesting to say about the sport anymore, and has been spectacularly blind to Armstrong.

His commentary is positively geriatric, but that fact that he comes out with these statements is idiotic and stupid to say the least, and those that love and know their cycling wish he would be gently moved to one side.

Murray Walker he isn't!

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1092 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 14:03

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He is past his sell by date now, use to have so much respect for him, now he's gone all David icke, turquoise shell suit next??

posted by ianswindon [3 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 14:22

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He's just another Person who's dreams have been shattered. Give him a break, not everyone is as objective, rational and well informed like atypical forum posters.

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 14:23

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I recall Phil Liggett saying he could prove that "agents" were offering riders bribes to testify against Armstong. A straightforward lie. If you're not part of the solution...

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 14:55

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David Walsh - Jealous
Paul Kimmage - Jealous
Emma O'Reilly - Jealous
Betsy Adreau - Jealous
Greg Lemond - Jealous

I could go on obviously.

Ligget believes the reason these people wanted to OUT THE BULLY as a CHEAT AND A LIAR is jealousy !

Ligget is as mentally ill as Lance !

Ligget is a FUCKING IDIOT.... SIMPLES !

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posted by Brummmie [56 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 14:56

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Brummmie wrote:
David Walsh - Jealous
Paul Kimmage - Jealous
Emma O'Reilly - Jealous
Betsy Adreau - Jealous
Greg Lemond - Jealous

I could go on obviously.

Ligget believes the reason these people wanted to OUT THE BULLY as a CHEAT AND A LIAR is jealousy !

Ligget is as mentally ill as Lance !

Ligget is a FUCKING IDIOT.... SIMPLES !


Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

posted by Rushie [33 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 15:21

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theclaw wrote:
Sam1 wrote:
theclaw wrote:
pwake wrote:

And it's not just his former supporters; he's still driving a lot of traffic to this site and Paul Kimmage has made a career off the back of LA. Speaking of Kimmage, I remember him as the next big thing in Irish cycling after Kelly & Roche and after finishing sixth (I think) in the World Amateur RR Champs and I can understand his bitterness/disillusionment with the sport; he really was a bright star in the making. But he knows, for sure, that to make a name for yourself you go for the big names. He did it with LA; now it looks like he's out of material there, he's started on Wiggo.

pwake what a complete and utter load of drivel. You are obviously very bitter that your idol has been snuffed out and kicked out of sport. Maybe also you are bitter because in the end, Kimmage, Walsh etc have actually proved to be better at their jobs than Lance was at his? Is that what you're grinding your axe about?? Kimmage and Walsh and Ballester arr high quality, extremely competent journalists whose work extends far beyond their investigations of Lance Armstrong.

There's no doubt that Kimmage wrote about and stood up to Armstrong in press conferences eg Tour of Cali in 09 when very few others apart from Walsh, would do so. But just to be correct: he didnt do any investigative journalism unlike Walsh and Ballester. He based his articles on his unerring believe that Armstrong was cheating (bolstered of course by Walsh and co's investigative findings and the results e.g. LA Confidential).

Kimmage is not, nor has he ever been, an investigative journalist.

No doubt this is going to unleash a tirade from you for seeming to bismirch him but this is the case.

Sam1 no this is not going to unleash a tirade of any type - to the best of my knowledge, you appear to be correct when you state that Walsh/Ballester did more investigative journalism whilst Kimmage stood up and joined some of the dots that these investigations threw up. It doesn't take away from the fact that he was one of the very few to publicly stand up to Lance, nor does it take away from the comment that he is a high quality journalist who also writes excellent pieces away from cycling. He never needed Lance to survive, period. And he doesn't need Wiggo to survive either - he will carry on doing high quality journalism for quite a while, me thinks. And no, I don't think you are seeking to bismirch him.

Apart from the fact that he stood up to LA, I've no time for any of Kimmages work away from cycling. He's never once had the ball$ to question another sportsman about drugs, despite interviewing numerous rugby players, track & field etc. Zero investigative work, and zero credibility when it comes to his other work. Walsh actually started questioning drug use in other sports before focusing on cycling, probably because it was the best story.

Argon18 E-112 - Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [183 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 16:05

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Are Phil and Paul still used for commentary in the US? I'd love to see the back of them. They're not the worst commentators (Carlton Kirby is), but there are plenty of better commentators out there. I'd employ Daniel Lloyd.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1333 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 16:37

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theclaw wrote:
pwake wrote:

And it's not just his former supporters; he's still driving a lot of traffic to this site and Paul Kimmage has made a career off the back of LA. Speaking of Kimmage, I remember him as the next big thing in Irish cycling after Kelly & Roche and after finishing sixth (I think) in the World Amateur RR Champs and I can understand his bitterness/disillusionment with the sport; he really was a bright star in the making. But he knows, for sure, that to make a name for yourself you go for the big names. He did it with LA; now it looks like he's out of material there, he's started on Wiggo.

pwake what a complete and utter load of drivel. You are obviously very bitter that your idol has been snuffed out and kicked out of sport. Maybe also you are bitter because in the end, Kimmage, Walsh etc have actually proved to be better at their jobs than Lance was at his? Is that what you're grinding your axe about?? Kimmage and Walsh and Ballester arr high quality, extremely competent journalists whose work extends far beyond their investigations of Lance Armstrong.

Not bitter. No axe to grind. Drivel? Well, I just thought I was being logical in thinking that lots of people did well out of Lance's years; detractors and supporters alike.
Like I said, I remember Kimmage as a rider and can understand, to some extent, his disillusionment, but as other comments have stated, his work has been opinion with no original investigative content. I'm not saying it's a good thing for cycling to still have Liggett around and I have to ask; Do you think it's a good thing for cycling to have Kimmage around?
He wrote a bloody good book in 'Rough Ride' but doesn't really seem to have been able to move on in a way. Some seem to canonize him in a similar manner to those who canonized Lance; just hope he isn't going up that faulted path of believing his own media persona; it never ends well...

posted by pwake [280 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 19:24

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C'mon Phil, get over it man. LA's admitted it. Not just the doping, but the bullying and manipulation and serial lying. Whatever the motivation, it still needed out. The omerta needed to be broken and people brought to account. Time to move on and admit you were taken for a huge ride and made an *ss of yourself.

There was an interesting article on VeloNews about how LA underestimated how dangerous an enemy he was making of Landis - http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/01/news/walsh-on-armstrong-landis-wa...) when Landis asked for help after his 2006 bust, and LA apparently told him to "go forth and multiply".

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [61 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 21:33

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I'm glad Kimmage still has an interest in cycling. Getting sued by Pat & Hein is a badge of honour, really.

I cannot help thinking how much better Chasing Legends would have been without Phil & Paul.

posted by Valentino [16 posts]
23rd January 2013 - 18:40

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@Colin Peyresourde

Agree entirely, Mr P. Liggett's commentary is like listening to your grandfather trying to remember his shopping list. Harmon is up there with those sports commentary greats, Johnners, Blowers, CM-J and Aggers, Ted Lowe, Dan Maskell, Walker and Hunt, and Toby and Julian (Eurosport motorcycling) by comparison. Though his sidekick, Kelly's curmudgeonly grunts have become increasingly irksome. For my own part, after all the doping shenanigans last year, I've now got shot of the Eurosport option as my belief that the cycling we get now is real (viz one Peter Sagan, if he's clean, I'm the Pope) is very thin so now point paying for a channel exclusively for a sport that you're stretched to believe in. So I'll probably catch a bit of the Tour (especially if the little cheating pistol boy isn't riding) on ITV4 hopefully with another commentary team but with the sound muted if it's still Laurel and Hardy.

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posted by dullard [140 posts]
23rd January 2013 - 19:06

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I've not read all the comments here so sorry if I'm repeating stuff but it's very sad to see Phil Liggett apparently supporting Lance Armstrong. The punishment for Armstrong is severe but it seems that it is his whole attitude and behaviour in recent years, not just the fact that he kept winnign the tour on drugs, that has led to such a mighty downfall.

blackrider

posted by rideforfun [4 posts]
23rd January 2013 - 19:37

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I hate to say it, but I've always enjoyed Paul and Phil on the Tour. I'm probably a lot older than most of you and can remember , with total satisfaction, when the Tour was first on the tv. Before that we had zilch! It's the one "must see" tv in the year. I've not seen Liggett's comments until I read these comments tonight.
Perhaps Phil is still reluctant to see the loss of one of his heroes, I know I am. Obviously times have changed and we now have Cav and Wiggo to cheer. I'm convinced that they're clean, they would probably be lynched by British cyclists if they were'nt....

posted by aljohn [5 posts]
23rd January 2013 - 19:58

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Standing up to LA took huge cahoonas. That is a gold medal there that Kimmage deserves and along with a few others. The rest did nothing but suck up to Armstrong. Not bad to have in your career CV that you called out Armstrong in 1999

http://www.independent.ie/sport/reserving-the-right-to-applaud-403806.html

Kimmage also called out Michelle Smith, Ireland's 1st gold medal winner, for doping. Not a popular move to make. He got ridiculed for it too in Ireland. But ultimately was proven right again.

So he has called it in cycling and swimming. Not bad.

As for Ligget.

The sooner he is gone from the sport the better.

I'd rather the cycling community ignore him and not report anything he says.

posted by Decster [246 posts]
23rd January 2013 - 20:38

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Get Eurosport, the coverage is far superior. Sean Kelly has an knowledeg of racing and the peleton these guys can only dream of. P.s i don;t work for eurosport

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posted by amyglover [1 posts]
23rd January 2013 - 21:11

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Waiting Hasen't Phil been around since flip-flop hubs and all wool kits ? Old announcers are like fish, if it stays in your icebox too long, it starts to smell.

Michael R. Smith

posted by American tifosi [37 posts]
23rd January 2013 - 23:34

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Thanks, Phil: bye, now.

Gerard the Kiwi

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posted by GerardR [84 posts]
24th January 2013 - 10:11

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Gkam84 wrote:
To be fair, ONE comment does make sense.

They did get value for money, whether he doped or not. They paid him to come to an new race, really unknown, most pro's weren't interested.

Now look at it, first race of the season, lots of the top guys there including the world champion.....

But other than that, Liggett should be strung up

World Tour points mean that the top riders turn up and actually race, nothing more. It'd be a training ride otherwise.

posted by Spofferoonie [18 posts]
24th January 2013 - 11:57

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"I think Lance was keeping the biggest slice of the cake and living the lifestyle of an 'A' class celebrity,"

A "Class A" celebrity, surely?

Last season I said what stinking vermin are Liggett and Sherwin when the gold mine story came out. I repeat my disgust now.

It's a shame that they are now on Sky Sports, whose crap coverage is showing the TDU this year. Mind you, they are probably Rupert Murdoch's idea of upstanding guys.

Come back, Carlton - verbal diarrheoa and all.

493rd in GC Fantasy TdF 2014

posted by Sanderville [203 posts]
24th January 2013 - 17:41

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Brummmie wrote:
David Walsh - Jealous
Paul Kimmage - Jealous
Emma O'Reilly - Jealous
Betsy Adreau - Jealous
Greg Lemond - Jealous

I could go on obviously.

Ligget believes the reason these people wanted to OUT THE BULLY as a CHEAT AND A LIAR is jealousy !

Ligget is as mentally ill as Lance !

Ligget is a FUCKING IDIOT.... SIMPLES !

I think you have hit the nail on the head.

posted by festival [101 posts]
25th January 2013 - 0:04

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Sanderville wrote:
It's a shame that they are now on Sky Sports, whose crap coverage is showing the TDU this year.

It's a syndicated feed, host broadcaster is Channel Nine, Liggett & Sherwen work for them on the race and are involved in race PR. Not sure if it would have been an option for anyone send their own commentators out there.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7937 posts]
25th January 2013 - 1:26

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Liggett: ridiculous, retire, or at least take a back seat. But Sean, for all that I'll always admire him above all other sports persons, has never been guilty of uttering a syllable on drugs in cycling. Omertà? a bit chatty.

posted by droshky [8 posts]
29th January 2013 - 0:08

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