After nearly four decades as the preeminent voice of professional cycling, Phil Liggett recently used up the last cycling analogy available.
Experts had warned Liggett in recent years that cycling performance analogy resources were running dangerously low. Despite these warnings, however, he continued to deplete vocabulary reserves at a reckless pace.
In 2004, authorities cautioned Liggett after his “excessive use” surrounding Davide Rebellin’s hat-trick of classics victories at the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège that year.
Liggett’s commentary caused a pronounced dip in resources, and, experts warned, if he were to continue depleting word stores at such a high rate, analogy levels could be critically low by 2007, and entirely depleted by as early as 2010.
However, these warnings came before the unanticipated trials and tribulations of the pro cycling ranks, including ongoing doping allegations of the sport’s top stars.
Armstrong’s return to the sport was alone responsible for excessive use of analogies.
“When Lance came out of retirement, it was the commentating equivalent of wiping out an entire Brazilian rainforest. The devastation was unprecedented,” exclaims Claude Valmont, Director for the French Regional Oral Ministry for Affairs of Grammar and Expression (FROMAGE).
Other commentators have complained that “(Phil) uses up the best ones and then there’s not much left for the rest of us,” says a commentator from a competing network, preferring to remain anonymous. “After he’s done describing a race, all we’re left with are zingers like ‘He rode really fast.’ Oooh! Whoopee.”
Regarding his preparation for the 2009 Tour, “I thought I’d packed enough analogies,” says Liggett. “But we’re not even to the first rest day, and I get a call from one of my suppliers saying ‘Phil, we’ve got a problem.’ I was stunned.”
Liggett was dismayed to find a lack of sympathy among his compatriots. “You’d think after all we’ve been through, Paul (Sherwen) would share some of his words. Right! I’d have better luck asking him for bone marrow. And don’t think for a moment I’d stoop to borrow some from Bob (Roll). If I used his words, people would think I’ve had a stroke.”
Despite the setback, Liggett remains undeterred. “There are rumors of a rich, new discovery of cycling analogies in the Baikal Lake region of Siberia. But permitting could be tricky—to say nothing of extraction and transportation logistics.”
“For now, though, I’ll have to get by with the basic adjectives, or get more creative in my analogies.”
With that, Liggett’s eyes suddenly sparkled with inspiration as he exclaimed, “Cavendish is charging down the finishing straight like a furloughed polygamist…um, a startled hedgehog…er, an incontinent bridesmaid!!
“Hmmm…still needs some work.”