OK, these are small things. But: Yesterday we noted Phil’s insistence on pronouncing Alejandro (ah-lay-HAHN-droh to most English speakers trying to respect the name’s Spanish origin) as “Alethandro.” At first, you think, no, he can’t really be saying that. But he is, most of the time, and he persists no matter how many times his broadcast partner, Paul Sherwen, gives the correct (or at least less ridiculous) pronunciation.
But there’s a method to Phil’s lisping. When he says the name of Juan Mauricio Soler, the climber who won last year’s Tour King of the Mountains competition, he usually makes it “Mau-REE-thee-oh.” When I heard him saying this last year, I wondered whether he was on to some unique personal pronunciation of the guy’s name. Sometimes, though, he would make it “Mau-REE-tsee-oh” (as Sherwen does). I can’t figure any reason it would be anything other than “Mau-REE-see-oh.”
One can only guess that somewhere in the dim past, Phil decided or told that Spanish “j” and “c” are pronounced “th” except when you want to throw in some random consonant sound. What’s amazing to me is that for as long as the guy has been working bicycle racing, no one’s been able to correct him.