Liggett, who has been dubbed the ‘voice of cycling’ after decades of Tour de France TV commentary, said he admired the Texan for his achievements off the bike but that he “can’t condone drug cheats”.
Armstrong, who won seven consecutive Tour de France titles before he was stripped of the results, has been banned from cycling for life for doping.
In an interview with 7NEWS in Australia Liggett, 77, said: “When Lance realised that the Tour de France was drug-ridden, he told his team ‘We’ll do it and we’ll do it better than they do it.’
“And if they didn’t agree, they were off the team. Most of his team had to take drugs just to back him up…because Lance was exceptional.”
Liggett said that Armstrong would take his team to the iconic Alpe d’Huez climb in France and ride to the top in training, before descending the mountain and taking the climb on again: “And he wasn’t taking drugs when he went training. He was naturally just extremely good.”
When asked if Armstrong could have won without the drugs, Liggett said “no question.”
Liggett was a friend and ally of Armstrong during his peak years, the late 1990s to the mid-2000s.
But the British broadcaster said he and Armstrong had not spoken as friends since 2011.
Liggett said he still admires Armstrong for what he achieved away from cycling, beating cancer himself before raising hundreds of millions for cancer research.
A new feature-length documentary will track the life of the famed cycling commentator, which is set to be released in Australian cinemas on March 11.
‘Phil Liggett: The Voice of Cycling’ is a 110-minute exploration of Liggett’s life story, covering his passion for cycling and wildlife conservation.