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The remarkable story of Phil Liggett

From The Top

Release Date: 07/21/2020

Building Cervelo show art Building Cervelo

From The Top

The genesis of Cervelo started in 1995 when two young engineering students named Phil White and Gerard Vroomen met in the composites lab at McGill University in Canada. Over a span of 15 years they went from building a crazy aerodynamic time trial bike as a university project to creating one of the most disruptive and loved bike brands in the world.

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Building Zwift show art Building Zwift

From The Top

Indoor training has been around for longer than I can remember, but it was in 2014 when Zwift came along that it changed this market forever.

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Building Castelli show art Building Castelli

From The Top

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more iconic brand in cycling than Castelli. The company dates back to the late 1800’s.

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Building 'Life in the Peloton' with Mitch Docker show art Building 'Life in the Peloton' with Mitch Docker

From The Top

When pro cyclist Mitch Docker announced his retirement I was in the middle of producing Christian Meier’s story, much of the background I got from Mitch’s podcast, Life in the Peloton. So it got me thinking about Life in the Peloton. Is it a business for Mitch? How did he start this? What makes him tick? Where might it go? Mitch is clearly a smart, talented and hard working guy, so why not document his story now at this point of his journey rather than 10 years from now? 

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Building The Service Course show art Building The Service Course

From The Top

If you follow professional cycling and are attracted to specialty coffee, beautiful custom bikes, and boutique travel, then there’s no doubt you haven’t already come across Christian and Amber Meier’s businesses. The couple from Canada embarked on a professional cycling career for Christian and settled in the once sleepy Catalan town of Girona. The two of them are the founders of La Fabrica, Espresso Mafia and Service Course which have now become institutions of Girona that people seek out.

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Building 7mesh show art Building 7mesh

From The Top

7Mesh are an apparel brand based in Squamish, Canada who make top quality clothing made for the demands of mountain biking, gravel and road.

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Building Curve Cycling show art Building Curve Cycling

From The Top

It all started in around 2010 when Curve’s earliest founder, Steve was working in a bike shop and got asked all the time for wheel upgrades. At that time the only thing available for after market carbon wheels were basically ENVE, Zipp, and a few others which were a major price leap from high end alloy wheels. Steve started asking himself why a more accessible carbon wheelset wasn’t available, so he did it himself.

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Building LIV/Giant Bicycles show art Building LIV/Giant Bicycles

From The Top

You could very well argue that Bonnie Tu is the most powerful woman in cycling, although she wouldn’t think of describing herself that way. She’s best known as the face of the LIV brand she created back in 2008, but more than that she’s the Chairman of the largest bike brand in the world: The Giant Bicycle Group. What does that mean? Quite simply – she runs the entire show.

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How Matt Keenan Found His Voice show art How Matt Keenan Found His Voice

From The Top

As we continue our theme of individual icons within the sport, this week we hear the story of Matthew Keenan - a man who is slowly but surely becoming the new voice of cycling, taking over the highest job in cycling commentary just three years ago when Matt and Robbie McEwen replaced Paul Sherwin and Phil Liggett as the host announcers for the Tour de France.

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The Story of Legendary Cycling Photographer Graham Watson show art The Story of Legendary Cycling Photographer Graham Watson

From The Top

This week we speak to Graham watson, the most prolific cycling photographer in perhaps the world. Like other pioneers of their  professions, some might argue that it was easy back in the day and there were more opportunities. But everything is obvious in hindsight, and as you’ll soon hear from Graham, it was anything but easy. I’m a big believer that you make your own luck to open the next door, and that’s precisely what Graham did over the 5 decades he covered the sport.

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More Episodes

Over the next few episodes of From the Top I switch gears to speak to iconic individuals within the cycling industry to better understand how they got to where they are. First up, I speak to Phil Liggett about how he got his start in commentating, how he met Paul Sherwin, how he’s been doing since Paul’s untimely passing, his relationship/fallout with Lance Armstrong, and the cutthroat nature of his position at the top of his profession.

Liggett is undeniably the most recognisable voice in cycling and has brought the sport we all love into the mainstream through his ‘Liggetisms’, descriptions of chateaus and his dulcet tones with co-commentator the late Paul Sherwin.

Many enthusiasts say that Phil is long past his prime and should retire. There’s no denying that we’re in a new age from when Phil started commenting before many of us were even born, and the media landscape is a very different place now than it was then. But Phil has witnessed and called so many of cyclings most significant and historic moments and made us all jump out of our chairs with excitement, and you have to thank him for being part of those memories. Personally, I bookmark my years by who won the TdF in that particular July, and Phil and Paul’s voices are part of that.

Phil is now 76 years old and has been commentating since the late 70’s. Think about that. His impact on the sport and his pioneering role has been tremendous. These days while he might get some details wrong while calling the race in front of millions of people, I call tell you firsthand through many interactions with him that he’s still sharp as a tack. And while as much as you don’t want to hear it, his commentary isn’t really for you or me, the hardcore cycling fan - it’s for the people who immerse themselves into the Tour de France once a year, and they still love him.

From starting as an aspiring pro bike racer, to a journalist, to commentating with the late Paul Sherwin for 33 years, now in the twilight of his remarkable life and career. I sat down with Phil to hear how he got started, and some of his struggles along the way.