Cycling commentator Phil Liggett had always believed in and defended Lance Armstrong and it wasn’t until the Texan finally revealed his past indiscretions that Liggett’s tone changed.
“All I wanted was the absolute proof,” he said. “I stood by him of course and it certainly was to my detriment. I must confess Lance has never rung up and thanked me for standing by him.”
“I built him up. I created him into a great cyclist, and he was, even though he took drugs. On the other hand, I feel hurt and cheated that we made him look better than he should’ve and turned him into a star.”
“To be fair, it wasn’t just Lance. Pretty much all the top names were doing it, some of whom were never caught. I can’t totally decry Lance. He raised US$600 million [$925 million] to fight cancer. I’d emcee his gigs around the world.
“People say I was in his pocket and strong friends but that’s totally untrue. I was hoping against hope it wasn’t drugs.”
Liggett said Armstrong was a man prepared to succeed at all costs.
“Nobody is a friend of Lance Armstrong. I don’t believe he’s got any friends,” he said. “He’s very much a brash guy who sees a target and shoots at it, that’s how he won his tours.”
I am sorry but I still admire LA. 1 he got so many young riders interested in the sport. 2. He was doping as all the top riders were in the day. 3. What he has done to create global help to individuals with cancer and researchers as well is record shattering. I am a lung cancer survivor and am thankful for the one on one counseling and suggestions Livestrong did for me. 4. His punishment was unfair. I feel they hit LA up so hard was because he fooled them for so long as a revenge thing. I feel Americans should still support LAs yellow jerseys to be mentioned in the Tours history
Marcus, You can’t even except Liggett’s apology. Sheesh! Get over it! Then consider me a Phil Liggett clone. I was also an LA fan, seeing him come back from almost a death sentence from cancer, to stomp the top contenders (who were also drugging), all the while watching my 17 yr old godson succumb to leukemia, brought me a lot of joy. A the time I was thinking, he’s winning, not just the Tour but cancer too. Like Liggett, I hoped LA was clean & wanted to believe he was. But I also knew many power lifters and body builders who took drugs in order to to set records, win at the state level, win at the national level, and just maybe make “some” money. So I knew it was part of the job. I was a middle school teacher and if I could have taken drugs to make me a more effective teacher I would have done so. However there was a turning point for me and it came when I read Tyler Hamilton’s book. Now I more fully understand the need to take drugs in professional cycling,
and I more fully understand how ruthless LA was to those around him. I have also learned that he helped raise $600 million to fight cancer. And the latter does not exonerate the former.
2017 Tour totally devoid of American support, Lance had his believers and I was one of them.He deserves to be expunged from the records.
Great to see Boardman and Millar offer decent insight into today’s peloton.
Everybody is wise after the event. Where were you all in 1999 ? At the end of the day this is a professional sport, with very big rewards. Commentators watch the races and say what they see, riders racing hard; thats all.
Besides which he is a secondrate commentator. He always seems to rabbit on about a rider in the Tour and he has picked the wrong one. And his offsider has a way with cliches. So much of a relief when someone else is the commentator.
Totally agree with above comments
Everyone at that level new what was going on and to say otherwise is just BS.
Whilst the money was rolling in everyone was happy
FFS just say it and move on instead of feigning ignorance.
He was at worst duped and at best naive, but he couldn’t be both. His fawning over Lance when he knew (if he looked deeply into his conscience) that it was all too good to be true and never questioned it will always discredit him in the eyes of the cycling world, the fact also he benefitted as well from the gravy train of LA said a lot about his principles of we are honest, he took the devil’s shilling and now to say he feels let down makes Ligget look even more disingenuous and really should cease from commenting on LA.