Following the Bestmed Phil Liggett Tribute Tour in December, the legendary British cycling commentator has been recognised with two of South Africa’s top road races naming their winners’ trophies after him.
ASG Events have taken this unique step to honour the Voice of Cycling – as he is known worldwide – at next month’s Bestmed Tour of Good Hope in the Cape Winelands and September’s Bestmed Jock Tour in Mpumalanga.
The inaugural tribute ride took place in December from Pretoria to Hoedspruit, sparked by a conversation between ASG chief executive Wynand de Villiers and Bestmed marketing and sales chief Chris Luyt earlier in the year.
“We wanted to acknowledge what Phil has done for racing, particularly as he has been a staunch supporter of the sport in South Africa,” said De Villiers.
Now, he added, they had decided to take it a step further by honouring Liggett at two of South Africa’s top races.
De Villiers said the elite men’s and women’s trophies at both events would be inducted this year as the Phil Liggett Tribute trophies.
A former amateur cyclist, Liggett, now 73, turned to journalism in 1967, taking the first steps of a career which has seen him become the world’s premier cycling commentator.
He was honoured in 2005 as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to the sport.
“It’s an honour for the two events to be associated with Phil,” said De Villiers. “He is world cycling’s most recognisable figure and it’s going to do wonders for the events to have him spread their message across the globe.”
Luyt said he felt the development would be a boost for the tours.
“We feel the Tour of Good Hope and the Jock Tour have the potential to attract strong international fields and I’m sure, in years to come, these could become highly coveted trophies.”
He added that Liggett graciously accepted the tribute in typical understated fashion.
“He is a wonderful guy and very humble. He joked in his distinctive English manner that he thought it was not good to ‘honour a guy before he’s dead’.”
What’s more, according to Luyt, Liggett said he hadn’t even retired yet.
“But he has been a great ambassador for the sport and relates strongly with Bestmed’s objectives in pursuing wellness.