Phil Liggett is known round the world for his commentary of the world's biggest bike races; a veteran of the Tour de France press corps, the Welshman knows what it takes to make a good bike race. Making an appearance at this year's Tour de Georgia, the 'voice of cycling' believes the absence of Lance Armstrong shouldn't be too big a hurdle for US cycling to jump, as he told Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins on a ride around Fayetteville.
Those following this year's Tour de Georgia may have noticed a lack of interest and hype surrounding the event compared to the 2005 edition where Lance Armstrong made his final racing appearance on US soil before his swansong Tour de France.
"We need to remember that it [the race] is still in the early stages and the weather has not been our favourite," said Phil Liggett. "People may tune in a little less for the live coverage at such an early point in the race because the deciding days are about to come. If we allow patience for the unravelling of the stages we will see just how many fans are out, especially for stages like Brasstown Bald."
Liggett is confident that fans will get behind the race as it begins to heat up on the slopes of Brasstown Bald. "I can assure you there will be a lot of people tuning into that stage. They've gained in the last period."
The retirement of Lance Armstrong certainly had an impact on last year's event where the then six-time Tour de France champion announced his retirement in the pre-Georgia press conference. "Lance was an important storyline and it appealed to many people," said Liggett.