I stopped by to see Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen at the Versus mobile studio this morning. We have worked together a bit over the years, most recently on the official Tour of California DVD--Phil and Paul doing the race call with me doing the rider interviews before and after each stage.
Phil and Paul have to be some of the hardest working guys in the business. The Tour is a huge effort for this pair. First, there is the pre-stage show with Al and Bobke which is filmed in the morning. Next, they spend the late morning, afternoon and early evening calling the stage. Sometime around 8 p.m. or so, the crowds (and their cars) at the finish have thinned out enough for them to drive to the town hosting the next day's finish. That trek normally takes four-plus hours which usually means a quick pre-made ham-and-cheese sandwich at an autoroute cafe and then arrival at the hotel sometime around 1 a.m. Whoa! And you though the riders had it tough!
Over the years, Phil has come up with some great one-liners affectionately known as Liggettisms. One of my favorites goes all the way back to 1986 when Bernard Hinault had his sixth Tour victory all but wrapped up when he betrayed Lemond in the Pyrenees. Sitting on a five-minute lead, Hinault was unable to control his bravado and attacked solo with three huge Pyrenean climbs remaining. Phil's words were prophetic as he exclaimed, "is he a superman or a fool?" Bernie blew up and Greg beat him by five minutes setting the match all square.