If you want insights into the colourful world of professional cycling, including the ice-cold mentality of disgraced champion Lance Armstrong, talk to Phil Liggett.
The celebrated commentator was one of the seven-time Tour de France winner’s most loyal defenders – having joined him to host cancer fundraisers around the world and once declaring an investigation into his drug use “a waste of time” – until Armstrong eventually admitted doping.
But Liggett’s first conversation with the fallen champion since that admission in 2013 was telling. It came just two years ago, months after the sudden death of Liggett’s beloved co-commentator Paul Sherwen, when American TV network NBC employed Armstrong to provide comments down the line during the Tour coverage.
“Lance came up in the break [and I said] ‘Hi Lance’,” Liggett says. “He goes, ‘Hi’. You’d think having read all the press reports on the way I’d been ripped apart just trying to defend him, he might have said, ‘I’m sorry about all this mess, Phil’. Not a word.