Com­men­tary duo sur­vivor ex­pects grief to hit soon

CY­CLING

Kalgoorlie Miner - - SPORT -

Phil Liggett doubts the grief has truly hit him yet as he deals with the shock death of his cy­cling com­men­tary side­kick Paul Sher­wen.

Liggett is hav­ing his an­nual trip to Ade­laide to call the Tour Down Un­der for TV and now his co-com­men­ta­tor will be Aus­tralian cy­cling great Rob­bie McEwen.

Ade­laide is Liggett’s first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since Sher­wen died early last month at his Uganda home, aged 62.

The duo known in cy­cling sim­ply as “Phil and Paul”, had called the Tour de France for 33 years, which Liggett notes is a record in TV sports com­men­tary.

Liggett said the pub­lic re­ac­tion to Sher­wen’s death had been over­whelm­ing — he re­ceived 30,000 tweets in three days.

“Be­cause I spoke about it al­most non-stop from the mo­ment I was told, the grief flew over my head,” he said. “I don’t think it’s hit me yet. “My re­cep­tion here has been ex­tra­or­di­nary, but the out­pour­ing of love . . . has been in­cred­i­ble and it’s prob­a­bly got­ten me through one of the worst times of my life.”

The Tour Down Un­der will have sev­eral trib­utes to Sher­wen.

“I’ve eval­u­ated ev­ery day in my life since,” Liggett, nick­named the Voice Of Cy­cling, said.

“The last thing I want to do is crack up. It’s go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult at the Tour Down Un­der.”

He is rapt to be work­ing with McEwen, but won­ders how McEwen will re­act when the veteran caller uses the sig­nal he per­fected with Sher­wen so they would not talk over each other.

“I’m just a lit­tle bit afraid I might grab his knee . . . I will let you know (the re­ac­tion), I hope Rob­bie un­der­stands.”

Liggett said it was “only a mat­ter of time” be­fore he called McEwen Paul. “It’s no good, it will slip,” he said. “I think that’s a sign of friend­ship.”

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

Ash­leigh Barty has surged into the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional semi­fi­nals.

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