Phil Liggett’s ‘Things You May Not Know About the Tour de France’

For 50 years, Phil Liggett’s coverage of the Tour de France has become synonymous with the event itself.

Liggett began beating the Tour de France in 1973 and began televising the race in 1978. By the end of this year’s competition, he will have covered more than 114,500 miles in the Tour de France – the equivalent of making more than four kilometers. one and a half trips around the world.

And like most seasoned travelers, Liggett learned a few things along the way. Fortunately, he decided to share his knowledge with the rest of us.

The race within the race

“To keep up with the Tour de France, which passes some 2,100 miles in three weeks, the TV commentators drive about 3,500 miles around the track, often reaching their hotels at midnight, but standing by. to call the race from the finish the next day. day.

“In the beginning I started just half a mile ahead of the riders in a group of maybe 500 cars. Before the finish I had to gain three hours on the riders and jump into the comment box to pick up the action towards the finish. It was a dangerous existence and I was the happiest man on TV when the system changed due to the extensive coverage of the event due to its popularity. We are now driving to the next finish in the evenings.”

Most Memorable Moments

“During my 50 years, I have been fortunate to name every English-speaking rider ever the Tour de France and all 34 stage victories of Briton Mark Cavendish, who equaled the record set by the great Belgian Eddy Merckx in 2021.

“When Greg LeMond became the first (and only) winner of the Tour in 1986, he had to sit with me on top of an open-top bus waiting for a live satellite cross at midnight to the United States. He was incredibly tolerant because all he really wanted to do was celebrate his victory with the team, who had booked a boat on the Seine and were ready to party.”

Change of time

“When Colombian journalists (TV and radio) first came to the Tour in the mid-80s, they produced their radio programs from the roadside payphones and had their pockets full of French francs to pump into the phones (no cell phone). ). phones, of course) to hold a half-hour live show in Bogotá.

Story continues

“During the 1970s, it was deafening to walk into the press room, where as many as a thousand journalists were typing the stories on typewriters. And finding a seat among the smoke from so many cigarettes may not have been the healthiest existence either. No cell phones, so always rush to the operator and then wait up to two hours for your collect call to get through to the UK or United States.

As the race became more popular and television was producing non-stop live coverage lasting up to six hours, we had to ask the organizers to move the toilets within a minute’s walk of the commentary positions to allow a quick visit during the commercial breaks. They still do that now.”

NBC Sports will be broadcasting live and encore coverage of the 109th Tour de France on Peacock and USA Network for three weeks. Daily live coverage of the Tour de France, featuring all 21 stages, begins Friday, July 1, 9:30 a.m. ET on Peacock and USA Network with the Tour de France Pre-Race Show, followed by Stage 1 at 10:00 a.m. ET on Peacock and USANetwork.

Peacock will provide live streaming of every stage of the 2022 Tour de France, with live, start-to-finish coverage of each stage. Peacock’s coverage includes simultaneous streams of USA Network and NBC shows, as well as commentary from the World Feed. Peacock will also feature full recaps, highlights, stage reports and rider interviews.

More: Olympics

Christine Mboma, Olympic 200m silver medalist, misses track worlds Annemiek van Vleuten, Dutch cyclist comes back from crash to win gold,… Can Marcell Jacobs answer Fred Kerley? Diamond League TV Live Streaming Schedule

Phil Liggett’s ‘Things You May Not Know About Beating the Tour de France’ originally appeared on

Lori J. Kile
I love to write and create. I love photography, design, travel and art. I am a full time freelance writer and photographer.I am very excited to be creating new content and opportunities for my readers.