Bicycling: How has the American broadcast of the Tour evolved?
Liggett: When I first started doing the Tour de France for Americans with CBS, we did good weekly shows, but they would pull them together more as an adventure film than a reportage on the Tour de France. The outside broadcast trucks were in Paris the whole race, so at the end of every week I’d be flown or ride a helicopter back to Paris and do a voice-over for the broadcast, then take the train back to Pau or wherever. We would have a really good day of racing, but if the stage didn’t affect the overall, we wouldn’t even name the day’s winner.
Bicycling: You wouldn’t announce stage winners?
Liggett: [Laughing] No, nobody had ever heard of them. I remember our producer at CBS, David Michaels, he’d say, “Nobody in New York City has ever heard of this guy, and nobody ever will!” The goal was to not confuse the American audience, to not lose sight of the overall project, which was who won the Tour de France. I remember one guy, Valerio Tebaldi, having a really emotional stage win, probably the only big race he’d ever win, and tears were streaming down his face as he crossed the line. He didn’t get mentioned, poor guy. It was like, “Nah, forget it. The only thing interesting about him is that he cried!”