Phil Liggett was the commentator who was as much a part of professional bike racing as the riders team managers and the Tour de France publicity caravan. Now Demand Films presents a documentary about the life and times of Phil Liggett, playing at your local cinema (at least in Canada) on October 25.
The British have a great love of the idiosyncratic and this enthusiasm for the oddball has extended to bicycle racing. Before British Cycling conquered track racing and Grand Tours fell to British riders, the British had a warm enthusiasm for time trialling. And one of the biggest fishes in this tiny pond was Alf Engers, “The King.”
Bookshelf Top Ten: The PEZ literary editor, Leslie Reissner, has had a busy 2019 with a book or film review published nearly every Sunday through the year. There has been a lot of top class cycling books this year for Leslie to peruse and so, here is his choice of book reviews from 2019: As he says: "in no particular order since these were all really good:"
1974 Giro d'Italia: Fans of the Giro d'Italia love it for its unpredictability, its difficulty, its confusion. Last week we looked at the documentary about the 1973 race, “Stars and Watercarriers,” and in 1974 many of those same stars returned for a rematch. The results are shown in “The Greatest Show on Earth,” produced by German filmmakers, with a very different viewpoint.
1973 Giro d'Italia: Danish film director (and poet) Jørgen Leth is best known to cycling fans for his iconic “A Sunday in Hell” documentary about the 1976 Paris-Roubaix race but his talent was turned towards racing earlier, one of the results being “Stars and Watercarriers", a film about the 1973 Giro d'Italia. From today's perspective, it is truly a trip down Memory Lane.
Film Review: For many fans, pro bike racing begins and ends at the finish line as the stars duke it out but a bike race is in fact many races. A superb documentary by Lithuanian filmmaker Arūnas Matelis, filmed in Italy over several years, takes into Deep Cycling and the world of the gregario.
Film Review: The Pursuit. If it was the title of heist movie, it would be about cops in pursuit of robbers. If it was a crime thriller movie, it would be about the pursuit of unraveling the mystery of whodunit. But in this case, The Pursuit is actually a double entendre: it’s a documentary about four British riders’ pursuit of glory on the boards in the team pursuit.
Film Review: In the film “North of Nightfall” a group of four freeride mountain bikers mount an expedition to the High Arctic and enjoy some of the most dramatic scenery and challenging riding anywhere. On June 1, you can go to selected cinemas across Canada and be amazed.
Film Review: On May 23, 2018, selected cinemas in Canada will be showing another Demand Films presentation with Australian overtones. Yes, they come from a Land Down Under: Orica-GreenEDGE arrived on the pro cycling scene in 2012 determined to make a splash and wave the flag. And, strewth!, so they have.