Television commentator Phil Liggett, a former amateur cyclist, is universally referred to as 'The Voice of Cycling.' He became a patron of Velokhaya in 2007. Phil originally started work as a zookeeper briefly at Chester Zoo and then trained (part way) as an accountant before moving to Belgium to try his luck as a full-time rider.
More about Phil Liggett:
Phil was born in Bebington on the Wirral, UK on 11.08.1943.
He has worked as a television commentator since 1978, covering eight summer (1980/84/88/92/96/2000/04/08) and four winter (1992/4/8/02/) Olympic Games for ITV, BBC, C7/C9 (Australia) CBS and NBC (America).
In February 1998 he covered the Winter Games in Nagano for C7 Australia, where he commentated on the opening and closing ceremonies and ski jumping. In Lillehammer in 1994 he was voted the best commentator of the Winter Games by the Sydney Herald and the New York Times. CBS programmes made on the Paris-Roubaix classic, that Phil hosted and scripted, won EMMYS in America. He has worked on 37 Tours de France, never having been home in July since 1973. In 1992 he was awarded the medal of honour from the Tour for 20 years non-stop reporting, and in 2002 a silver plaque for 30 years reporting. In addition he has written for the Daily Telegraph.
Until the Tour of Britain Milk Race ended in 1993 after a run of 36 years, Phil was the Technical Director of the organisation between 1972 and 1993. He rose to become Vice President of the Association Internationale Organisateurs des Course Cycliste. He became the youngest International cycling Commissaire (referee) in 1973 (29) when he passed with top marks an International course in Cardiff, Wales. He refereed the Tours of Zambia, Egypt and World Championships (1975) and still holds his A class Olympic-level diploma. He has been president of the British Cycling Federation's North London Division on two separate occasions.
He has worked on six Commonwealth Games; 1986 (TVNZ); 1990 in Auckland for C9, Australia, 1994 in Victoria, Canada with C10, Australia/TVNZ and M-Net, South Africa. He worked in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 for C9, Australia. In 2002/6, it was C7 Australia in Manchester and Melbourne, Australia.
He hosted the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic in Australia on television between 1988 and 2000, and was part of the TV team for the inaugural Tour of China in November 1995.
Phil has also hosted and/or reported on World Cup Ski jumping, speed skating, triathlons and world four-man sledding.
Each year he flies about 120,000 miles and stays in a hotel for more than six months!
In 1991, Phil was made a Freeman of Carrick on Suir, Ireland for his 'invaluable publicity and the manner in which he has promoted the town in so many commendable respects'.
Phil, a member of the Finsbury Park CC, was President of the CTC from 1997 - 2007 - the biggest cycling organisation in the world with 75,000 members. He is also an honorary member and/or Patron of Carrick Wheelers, Herts Wh., Birkenhead North End, New Brighton CC, GS Lanterne Rouge, Sydney Velo (Canada), Sydney CC (Australia) Old Papas CC (Perth) and La Squadra (Adelaide).
Phil has worked for M-Net (South Africa) in covering the Giro Del Capo (Tour of the Cape)since its inception in 1991 and also six times (1993-7, 99) the Rapport Toer, South Africa. He has hosted South Africa's Gala Dinner live on television to celebrate their Cyclists of the Year since its inception in 2001.
In 1994 through to 1996, he hosted the Night of Champions for US cyclists in Los Angeles, attended by many world and Olympic champions and film stars including Jon Voigt from Coming Home and Midnight Cowboy fame and who presented an award to Greg LeMond to mark his retirement from the sport.
In 1995 he made a two-hour film with NBC on the Hawaiian Ironman, won by American super star Mark Allen, and has hosted two Grundig mountain bike World Cup events in Britain for C4 television.
In Jan 2003, Phil finished third, with 15 per cent of the votes in a poll organized by Cycling Plus magazine to find the group or individual who had contributed most to the sport or pastime. The winners were the CTC, of which Phil was president, and runner-up was Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France winner.
Phil was trained as a journalist in Fleet Street in 1967, where he worked with the IPC magazine Cycling for four years. He has held freelance positions with the Guardian and Observer. In March 1997, he was appointed international editor of Cycle Sport magazine, which has a monthly circulation of 30.000. The magazine is also sold in the United States. He left in November 2003.
He is the author of a number of books including The Tour de France 1988 and 1989, The Complete Book of Performance Cycling and The Fastest Man on Two Wheels - an insight to Chris Boardman.
In 2005 he co-authored the Tour de France for Dummies.
In 1996 and 1998, the life stories of Ireland's two cycling legends, Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche were completed on video, written and narrated by Phil.
In 2002, Phil was appointed Patron of the first internet cycling team, iTeamNova.com in Australia and joined the Board of the National Byway whose aims are to bring to fruition a signed cycle route the length of Britain using the country's byroads. In 2005, the National Byway gained charitable status, and Phil passed to the Advisory Board.
In 2003 he was nominated by the TV Academy in the US for an Emmy as Outstanding Sports Personality - play-by-play of 2002. Phil currently works with the Outdoor Life Network/Versus in the US.
In October 2003, the American Bicycle Industry presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in the sport in Las Vegas at a special Awards dinner.
He lists his hobbies as: Canal boating, bird watching (he's a Fellow of the RSPB) and all wild life conservation. He began his interest in cycling by riding on the Wirral.
In June 2005, he became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list and in October 2007 he was given a Lifetime Achievement award by the US Hall of Fame.
Phil is married since 1971 to Pat Tipper, who was an Olympic ice speed skater in 1968 (Grenoble). Pat, as a masseuse and manager, has worked at five women's Tours de France and also managed British teams at World championships and major races. She has worked with Australia's road squads in 1992/3, working in a number of countries including South Africa and Sweden with Australian riders such as Robbie McEwen and Henk Vogel. Pat currently works as a university senior lecturer in dance science.