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Is Phil Liggett the biggest annoyance in the TdF-Is he a shill for the Schlecks

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Is Phil Liggett the biggest annoyance in the TdF-Is he a shill for the Schlecks

Old 07-23-11, 09:30 AM
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eja_ bottecchia
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Is Phil Liggett the biggest annoyance in the TdF-Is he a shill for the Schlecks

Good Lord, I just finished watching Stage 20 of the TdF. I can't stand another day of Liggett's commentaries. I especially can't stand his incessant fawning over the Schleck brothers.

Liggett was going on and on and on about how the Schleck brothers are the "best-loved" bike riders in the world?

Andy and Frank are good, maybe even excellent riders, but the "best liked riders in the world?"

Really Phil?

Maybe he should visit a couple of the LBS in my area, where the main topic of TdF conversation is how annoying, and disliked the Schlecks are. In fact, one of the guys at the store was wearing a t-shirt with the letters: ABTS= Anybody But The Schlecks.

If next year Liggett is still doing commentary for the TdF for Versus I iwll have to find an alternative site to watch the race.

PS: So Andy has just found yet another way to lose le maillot jaune.
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Old 07-23-11, 09:53 AM
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Was this your first year watching the TdF on Versus? Its been like that for a while. I used to really enjoy listening to Phil and Paul. But over the past few years, they've really changed (IMO). I think most of that is due to Versus and the way they are producing the broadcast. They (Versus) are hell bent on painting the Schlecks as the "good guy" and Contador as the "bad guy." I think they want to create a "Lance" like image of Andy Schleck to help market and push tour broadcast. That's because most of the casual TdF fans have a very positive image of Lance and dislike Contador because of the situation a couple of years ago. Additionally, Contador is a threat to unseat Lance as possibly the most prolific winner of the TdF. So fanboys want someone to be Contador at all costs. The big problem with the Versus strategy is that Andy has a tendency to complain and whine when things don't go his way and, more importantly, hasn't won (other than L-B-L in 2009) any major race of significance yet. So the major push of Andy Schleck by Versus comes off poorly because he's not winning.

Note this strategy by Versus is geared towards the casual cycling fan that watches the TdF and then disappears. The don't worry about the fans that follow cycling year round. They will watch no matter what the commentators say. And those numbers are small compared the larger casual views of the TdF.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:03 AM
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Phil seems to be losing his mind a bit, but he's seen everything and I appreciate his legacy, so I find him endearing like an old grandfather. Like a crazy old guy, you enjoy his stories, and easily ignore him when you disagree. In short, relax.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:05 AM
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Y'know, I have no idea what y'all are talking about.

They aren't talking smack about Evans or Contador, they didn't paper over the fact that the Schlecks suck at the TT's. Both of 'em are very positive about Cadel essentially winning this year. I agree they occasionally indulge in hyperbole, but so does almost any announcer.

Nor is your bike shop the end-all and be-all of the cycling world. In fact, the US is kind of a backwater as far as cycling goes....
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Old 07-23-11, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Kind of Blued View Post
Phil seems to be losing his mind a bit, but he's seen everything and I appreciate his legacy, so I find him endearing like an old grandfather. Like a crazy old guy, you enjoy his stories, and easily ignore him when you disagree. In short, relax.
Yep.

I've come to not take any commentators of any sport very seriously. Nowadays, guys are put on the air just because they'll say something controversial or divisive. I don't think Phil and Paul have really changed that much in their opinions. But they have bosses. And if they want a certain angle pushed one way or another, well their going to follow suit. Otherwise, they'll get replaced. No one is indispensable.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:14 AM
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Interesting comment. Phil and Paul do similtaneous commentaries (you can sometimes here the other one talking in the background while the other is talking to you) so I don't know if we in Australia get the same commentary that you do, but I wouldn't have thought they were fawning over the Schleck brothers - the two boys get a lot of favourable commentary because they're top riders but nothing more. In fact, there was too much fawning over Contador for my liking (I'm one of those who didn't think he should ride this race).

On the other hand, they are showing signs of age. We get live television with an Aussie commentator before we get the Phil and Paul show. There's no way he's better than the old boys, but he is good and it does highlight the signs of ageing or maybe 'commercial professionalism' in Phil and Paul. Mind you, I'm reminded of Murray Walker who (Formula 1 commentator/tragic) who commentated well into old age, long after most of us realised he was ga ga but still doing an entertaining job.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:29 AM
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Andy and Frank Schleck are both on the podium and Andy was in yellow today. Should Phil and Paul just pretend that this didn't happen and go on about how awesome Contador is instead?

I get that Andy Schleck is a bit whiney at times, but I don't understand the hate.

The Lance "legacy" conspiracy that Versus is creating is pretty hilarious. I'd love to hear more about this.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:35 AM
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Poor Phil,.last year we despised him for fawning over LA, this year it's AS. Next year no doubt he'll be guilty if fawning over CE. Damn pommy
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Old 07-23-11, 10:47 AM
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As I watch the rerun right now, Phil is mentioning that the fans booing of Contador is "a little unfair" due to the "infinitesimal" amount of Clenbuterol in his test. Phil is also the guy that defended Contador's choice to attack after Andy dropped his chain last year. They also haven't mentioned Lance Armstrong once since stage one.

I think the conspiracy was created on Bike Forums, not Versus.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:53 AM
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Been listening to Phil and Paul for twenty years and still enjoy them.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:54 AM
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Wow. Figure it out.

1. Phil and Paul are PAID by Versus.
2. Versus gets most of its money from advertising
3. TREK is a big advertiser on Versus
4. The Schlecks ride for Leopard-TREK

Where's the mystery?
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Old 07-23-11, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Y'know, I have no idea ... In fact, the US is kind of a backwater as far as cycling goes....
yeah, life's tough here. Yellow jersey, US team, Most stage victories US team, second most, US team, Team TT US team, Green jersey US team, Team Award US team. And we had to put up with those annoying LeMond and Armstong kids for so long.

We'll suffer through.
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Old 07-23-11, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by bobvonb View Post
yeah, life's tough here. Yellow jersey, US team, Most stage victories US team, second most, US team, Team TT US team, Green jersey US team, Team Award US team
And 295 millions citizens who don't give a crap.
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Old 07-23-11, 11:10 AM
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I've always enjoyed listening to Phil and Paul, and continue to do so. I'll be disappointed when they decide to retire.

Without casting aspersions, lots of folks hear what they want to hear and tune out the stuff they don't. Happens all the time in all sorts of different environments.
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Old 07-23-11, 11:17 AM
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One way to mark yourself as a relative newcomer to cycling is to complain about Phil Liggett. Those of us who remember bike races narrated by Sam Posey and Pierre Salinger can only smile when folks whine about how bad they've got it today.
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Old 07-23-11, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by JoelS View Post
I've always enjoyed listening to Phil and Paul, and continue to do so. I'll be disappointed when they decide to retire.
Yes and no.
Phil is the sound of the TdF to me and my son because we both came to professional cycling through his commentary (and yes, it's been different to the US version but so what?). I've always enjoyed the ease with which they introduce the shadow world of tactics to the novice - cripes, even my beloved understands them and she doesn't have a competitive bone in her body.

The same was true for Murray Walker and F1. Murray retired and F1 was never the same again ... but I wasn't saddened until the old coot came back for a guest commentary (he was clearly ga ga by then).

Phil and Paul will retire when they feel it's right. The new blokes will sound strange for a bit and we'll 'remember' the 'old days', a bit like dreaming back to Indurain destroying men on the climbs ... or that Lance fellow and his time trials.

Phil and Paul are stars and deservedly so. They'll retire (eventually) and be remembered fondly.
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Old 07-23-11, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kind of Blued View Post
As I watch the rerun right now, Phil is mentioning that the fans booing of Contador is "a little unfair" due to the "infinitesimal" amount of Clenbuterol in his test. Phil is also the guy that defended Contador's choice to attack after Andy dropped his chain last year. They also haven't mentioned Lance Armstrong once since stage one.

I think the conspiracy was created on Bike Forums, not Versus.
It's not "conspiracy." It's "controversy." Controversy sells. This is the way it has always been with the media. And always will be.

Versus has been running the "chain" incident from last year ad nauseum. And they always ignore key facts such as Andy was attacking Contador first when he dropped his chain. Contador was accellerating and covering the attack. Then Contador counter-attacked when Andy slowed. No one but Contador knows if he actually saw that Andy dropped his chain. IMO, it was race on. Andy mechanical issue was most likely self inflicted. I can't blame AC for not stopping. But its been played out that Andy was just riding along and dropped his chain, then Contador attacked. And thereby violated and unwritten rule. Going back a year prior, Contador was played as the "bad" teammate. The guy who attacked his own team, etc. To think that Versus does not promote the controversy is naive. Controversy give a tremendous boost to the rivalry. Controversy create ratings. And in most rivalries there is a good guy and bad guy. They probably didn't know exactly how to handle Contador falling behind so much. Now they're stuck with Evan and Schleck. A couple of guys who have come, close but never won it. Not really a rivalry to hype, though. And not really a good guy/bad guy scenario to hype.

Versus isn't unique to this. Every media outlet would probably handle it the same way. So it's not something to get upset over. Phil and Paul are exciting announcers to listen to. They can get carried away, but that's the excitement they bring to the broadcast.

I do think overall, Versus has been more neutral this year. But the production has been scaled back some. No "enhanced" prime time coverage, etc.
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Old 07-23-11, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Laggard View Post
Been listening to Phil and Paul for twenty years and still enjoy them.
same here.... I really enjoy listening to them and considering that they are having to comment on a feed they have no control over, they do a pretty good job...
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Old 07-23-11, 01:25 PM
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I used to like them but they've gone senile. The amount of mistakes, misidentified riders, sponsor shills etc it is not worth watching. Streaming British Eurosport with Dave Harmon, sean Kelly and Carlton Kirby is so much nicer to listen to. They give a good commentary, know even the minor riders, answer questions through Twitter much better than VS clowns.
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Old 07-23-11, 01:56 PM
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phil and paul are heavily biased toward anyone British, African or Aussie. Paul was raised in Kenya and both of them used to polish Robbie Hunter's knob whenever he was in the top 15 of a bunch sprint, nevermind that he was rarely ever even top 5. They seem to favor the Norwegian guys also.
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Old 07-23-11, 02:00 PM
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I love Phil and Paul, personally. I also like Gogo and Steve Schlanger.
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Old 07-23-11, 02:26 PM
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As long as VS doesn't bring back Troutwig, I'm happy.
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Old 07-23-11, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by daveF View Post
As long as VS doesn't bring back Troutwig, I'm happy.
or John Tesch.
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Old 07-23-11, 03:57 PM
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Something else enters into this picture: ESPN.

The whole reason Versus was started was as competition to ESPN. Of course, by the time Versus hit the airwaves under their old name (which I can't remember as I'm writing this, ain't aging wonderful?) ESPN already had the major American sports wrapped up long ago. Which meant that Versus (OLN?) had to start with a bunch of sports that few Americans watched, and then had to make them interesting enough to get the audience to tune in.

Professional cycling was their first big breakthrough. Thank you Lance Armstrong (hate him all you want, to Joe Average on the Street cycling means Lance Armstrong, period). They've since added the NHL and Indy Cars, professional bull riding must be pulling some kind of ratings for all the time they give it, and Versus is now a reasonably serious sports channel, not the odd-sport joke they used to be. So if they seem to be overly manufacturing 'controversy', its because 'controvery' is usually good for ratings. And necessary for their survival and growth.

And I, for one, am greatful that Versus came along. It's nice to know that there's more sports in American than baseball (which I enjoy), football (take it or leave it), basketball (which I hate), and NASCAR (which I hate worse than basketball). Think back to the dawning of 500 channel cable, when the promise was that there would be channels for all interests, no matter how minute or esoteric. That didn't last long, little matter of ratings, but Versus is one of the reminders of what that day was supposed to have been.
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Old 07-23-11, 04:03 PM
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Outdoor Life Network. I still like the winter sports on Universal.
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