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  1. #1
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    well, every bike race i've ever seen has these guys as commentators. i like them and certainly don't mind listening to their voices for several hours on end. BUT, is there anyone else? how did they get to dominate the race scene so much? for many people, these guys are the voice of professional cycling and have been for many many years.



    p.s. forgive my spelling..should be liggett.
    Last edited by timmhaan; 01-25-05 at 02:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    Believe me, after suffering through some of the lame commentary on CBS and ESPN by American commentators, Liggett, Sherwen, and Roll are godsends (yes, I know Roll is American). Phil has been covering the Tour for over 30 years. Sherwen and Roll were pro racers in the '80's, so they have first hand experience with what they're talking about. I love the sophisticated style of Liggett and Sherwen, and I actually like the contrast provided by Roll's off the wall style.

    Anyone who has just gotten in to watching racing on TV in the last 6 years or so has no idea how bad the coverage was in the 80's and early 90's. Pretty much every race broadcast in the '80's had cheesy John Tesch music as the soundtrack. CBS would have Pierre Salinger doing an investigative report on the vineyards of Bordeaux when the Tour finished there. I could not have cared less about French wine making! I wanted to see if Abdoujaparov was going to keep it upright, or if he was going to careen through the field sprint like a cannonball (usually the latter). I still remember one of the commentators (and I'm being charitable by using that word) said there were only 3 reasons to climb Alpe d'Huez on a bicycle:
    1) You have a thing about looking down on birds.
    2) You ordered a Japanese mail order bride, and they delivered her to the top of the mountain. (Yes, he really said that!) or...
    3) You're a racer in the Tour de France (pronouncing "Tour de France" with all the cheesy hyperenthusiasm of a late night infomercial).
    God, it makes me want to chug a gallon of Drain-o just thinking about it.
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  3. #3
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    Others will disagree with this, but I think it will be a sad, sad day for American audiences when Phil Liggett retires. He has an encyclopedic knoweldge of the sport, as well as a genuine understanding and respect for what the riders are going through. I love the dry humor between him and Paul Sherwen.
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  4. #4
    Since Ever Since Devil's Avatar
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    Let us hope that Liggett never retires. Even when he dies, I think I'll invent a program that will take his entire commentaries for every race he's covered in 30 years and mix them in such a way that it will fit the current race perfectly.

    As far as I'm concerned, the man is a cycling commentary genius.

  5. #5
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    Paul and Phil are not only the two best English speaking cycling commentators in the biz, but I'd go so far as to say that they are among the best in any sport.
    i may have overreacted

  6. #6
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    totally agree with Laggard.
    The pity is I don't see anyone who could fill either of their
    shoes. Sure Bobke is good for colour but not as a replacement
    for either Phil or Paul.
    I just hope we get to see them this year.

    Marty
    Sono pił lento di quel che sembra.
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  7. #7
    OCP
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    ...trying my best to write the way he sounds....

    "Phil, these bite-ridas bode-ies are racked with pain now. Look at Ullrich's eyes, a beast of mahn grinding up this climb..."
    Hip, "Halffast Celebrity Fashionista"

  8. #8
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i'm continually amazed at how well phil covers the sprint finishes especially.

  9. #9
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    I've rewatched sprints just to hear Phil's call.
    i may have overreacted

  10. #10
    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laggard
    Paul and Phil are not only the two best English speaking cycling commentators in the biz, but I'd go so far as to say that they are among the best in any sport.
    YES! The best thing a commentator can do is make an event seem exciting. There are many times in different sports that if I turned the volume off it would make no difference. Paul and Phil make even grinding on the flats sound exciting. The two things they bring to the table are knowlage of the sport and huge passion. I mean haven't we all played these guys in our heads as we've climbed some redicules climb or sprinted with our buddies?!

  11. #11
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Rodies
    I mean haven't we all played these guys in our heads as we've climbed some redicules climb or sprinted with our buddies?!
    Absolutely. I've thought that Phil Liggett could make a killing by recording personalized "broadcasts" tailored to the individual's own scenarios. "My goodness me, Joey Bagodonuts (or insert your name here) has just laid the hammer down on Heart Attack Hill. He's making Joey Schmuckatelli suffer like he has never suffered before. Schmuckatelli is certainly resenting that extra pint of beer that he had at the pub last night..."

    When I call World Cycling Productions, they use the audios from their race videos as hold music. I can listen to Phil and Paul while I wait to talk to someone, and I have actually been disappointed when they pick up - I was enjoying the race too much!!! That's clearly a testimony to their stellar ability, when you resent being taken off of hold.

    It was said in the late '80's that the three most popular people in American cycling were Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten, and Phil Liggett. I still remember a race where Phil and Paul were talking about a German pro on T-Mobile (Telecom) who had done the Hawaii Ironman. Udo Bolts, perhaps? Any way, Phil said that the German probably wished that the bicycling segment was the last leg of the race. Phil added that nobody would have to worry about him (Phil) taking up triathlon because he couldn't swim. Paul noted that shouldn't be a problem, as Phil's fans seem to think he could walk on water! That's the best one-liner I've heard from him yet!
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laggard
    Paul and Phil are not only the two best English speaking cycling commentators in the biz, but I'd go so far as to say that they are among the best in any sport.
    Agreed.

  13. #13
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    I agree that Phil and Paul are the best. I was an enthusiastic but ignorant fan of racing when I started watching coverage on OLN a few years ago. After watching just a few races I felt like I had enough understanding to begin to appreciate why teams and individuals were doing what they were doing. I've read a couple of complaints that they dumb down the commentary too much. I, for one, appreciate ever morsel. And I love the tidbits of local flavor they throw in as the races go through different areas, pointing out interesting structures, terrain, agriculture, etc. Let's face it, sprinters stages, barring a flurry of attacks, can get be a little routine until near the end sometimes. Even with a long early breakaway it's usually just a matter of waiting for the peloton to slowly bring them back. It's nice to have some interesting commentary to pass the time. And Bobke cracks me up. I really miss it when he is not there.

    Unfortunately, I think our concern will be not so much who will replace Phil but whether there will be any OLN coverage for even him to announce. TDF is the only thing we can be sure of this year, and will they even cover that once Lance retires and Europeans start winning?
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  14. #14
    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, I think our concern will be not so much who will replace Phil but whether there will be any OLN coverage for even him to announce. TDF is the only thing we can be sure of this year, and will they even cover that once Lance retires and Europeans start winning?
    This will be up to the promoter in Europe. F1 is in the same situation, there are no US drivers in F1, but the head of F1's promotion (Bernie Ecclestone) has pushed to get F1 exposure to the US. He understands that the US is the biggest market in the world and that can only benifiet F1 and bring in more US sponsor money. If those in charge of the UCI and the ProTour want more US exposure they will strike a deal with OLN just like Bernie did with Speed and CBS.

  15. #15
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    If you check out the current issue of VeloNews (with the Syringe cover story), you'll see an article on the "hot new announcer", Dave Towle. This guy has been around the sport in various capacities. Now, he has made it clear that his main goal is to be on TV. With Phil and Paul, presumably.

    (You can read some of Towle's words at the tourdegeorgia.com website. Let me know if you think he's doing his best to promote himself.)

    I wasn't too pleased to see VN pump this guy up at the expense of Jeff Roake. That was pretty bad form, to be honest with you. Roake, though exlusively a LIVE announcer in the US, is definitely on par with Phil and Paul. He was given short shrift in the article. Tacky, for what Jeff's done over the past 20 years.

    Still, Phil and Paul are unquestionably the kings.
    Long may they reign, because there ain't much on the horizon.

  16. #16
    rider of small bicycles geneman's Avatar
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    While I like Phil ... I have to add that he's nothing without Paul. I have a tape of one of the one-day races OLN broadcast in 2004 (Amstel Gold I believe) where Phil was the only one on the mike and he had a tough time pulling it off. Alternatively, maybe he was just having a bad day.

    -mark
    Last edited by geneman; 01-27-05 at 09:46 AM.

  17. #17
    pedal, paddle and plod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hipcycler
    ...trying my best to write the way he sounds....

    "Phil, these bite-ridas bode-ies are racked with pain now. Look at Ullrich's eyes, a beast of mahn grinding up this climb..."


    "Oh, now they are in a spot of bother"




    tomcat

  18. #18
    Senior Member JoeOxfordCT's Avatar
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    "...........Absolutely. I've thought that Phil Liggett could make a killing by recording personalized "broadcasts" tailored to the individual's own scenarios. "My goodness me, Joey Bagodonuts (or insert your name here) has just laid the hammer down on Heart Attack Hill. He's making Joey Schmuckatelli suffer like he has never suffered before. Schmuckatelli is certainly resenting that extra pint of beer that he had at the pub last night..."




  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by geneman
    While I like Phil ... I have to add that he's nothing without Paul. I have a tape of one of the one-day races OLN broadcast in 2004 (Amstel Gold I believe) where Phil was the only one on the mike and he had a tough time pulling it off. Alternatively, maybe he was just having a bad day.

    -mark
    The commentary by Phil and/or Paul always seems a bit worse on the heavily edited broadcasts.

  20. #20
    Science Fanboy KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    I agree that they are among the best commentators for any sport. As far as why we don't have our own, I think road racing just isn't big enough in America to justify hiring a "Monday Night Football"-style crew of anchors. I know every country in Europe has their own broadcast, but I think American broadcasters just see it as more cost effective to use Liggett and Sherwin.
    There's only one other sport I like to watch on TV, and that's Sumo wrestling. Compared to that cycling is HUGE, so I guess the lack of popularity in this country doesn't bug me as much as some people.
    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Hitchens
    What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

  21. #21
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    Anyone remember the coverage of the 2003 San Francisco grand prix on OLN?

    No Phil or Paul. Just some really loud excitable American who knew little about bike racing and would have a stroke everytime an American moved so much as five feet off the front of the peloton.

    My wife in the other room even asked who the yahoo was.
    i may have overreacted

  22. #22
    Senior Member squeegy200's Avatar
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    I don't know if anyone remembers the absolutely atrocious English coverage of the summer Olympics in '99(?). I don't remember who it was that was speaking in the US Broadcast but it wasn't Phil or Paul. During the Women's road race, the leader, France's Jeannie Longo was dominating the field. During the commentary of the race, the announcer continued with insult after insult denegrating her performance. He made comments about how unlikeable she is and her demeanor off the field. There was nothing of importance to the race itself or her athletic performance. It was a disgrace.

  23. #23
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laggard
    Anyone remember the coverage of the 2003 San Francisco grand prix on OLN?

    No Phil or Paul. Just some really loud excitable American who knew little about bike racing and would have a stroke everytime an American moved so much as five feet off the front of the peloton.

    My wife in the other room even asked who the yahoo was.

    Now you've got me really curious... Does anyone remember who the commentator was?
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  24. #24
    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HigherGround
    Now you've got me really curious... Does anyone remember who the commentator was?
    Was it the same guy who did the US Pro Championships with Paul?

  25. #25
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    Phil and Paul are the bizness. Long may they rule!

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