Mark Cavendish has been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 in Salford this evening, beating off competition from Darren Clarke and Mo Farah.
Image: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Cavendish won with 169,152 votes (49.47% of the vote), having been made a clear favourite for the award by the bookmakers going into the event as well as being the subject of a social media campaign, #CAV4SPOTY, backing him to win.
Cavendish said: "I'm absolutely speechless, really. A few of my team-mates are here and they'll say that's a rare thing! Without these guys this wouldn't be close to possible. I'd like to thank them, everyone who supports me, my girlfriend and her little bump. Just even to be nominated in the top 10 this year in such an incredible year in British sport, that we can produce so many champions from such a small place, I really am lost for words.
"Thank you to everyone at home who has voted. This is a landmark in cycling, and I take this on behalf of cycling. For cycling to be recognised in a non-Olympic year, a few years ago would be unheard of, yet it's happened. Now I see so many people out riding bikes, commuting to work or doing it as a hobby, they can see what it's like to ride. We're so great as a country in sport because we put so much in and you see the returns. Thank you everyone, thank you. It's an honour."
Elsewhere, Lucy Garner missed out on BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year to golfer Lauren Taylor.
Performance Director Dave Brailsford said: “This has been a fantastic evening for the sport of cycling and it’s great that Mark’s success has been recognised by the British public and the national media.
"The BBC SPOTY award rounds off the perfect year for Mark, who’s cycling achievements have made history. He became the first ever Briton to win the Green Jersey at the Tour de France, and the first British male to win the Rainbow jersey since 1965. On top of that, he brought his Tour de France stage win tally up to 20 and won the Olympic Test Event in Surrey. Mark’s victory at both the Worlds and the Test Event are testament to the GB lads who rode for him and the team behind the scenes who have supported him over the years.
“I’m really proud of Mark and he thoroughly deserves this award. Congratulations also to Lucy, who made it onto the top 3 of the Young SPOTY following her cycling success this year.”
British Cycling President Brian Cookson added: "What a fantastic outcome at the end of a memorable year of brilliant results for Mark. We cyclists have long held Mark in the highest esteem, and this shows that the Great British public have now really taken him to their hearts as well. On behalf of British Cycling I offer Mark sincere congratulations."
Breakdown of the vote:
Mark Cavendish 169,152 (49.47%)
Darren Clarke 42,188 (12.34%)
Mo Farah 29,780 (8.71%)
Luke Donald 23,854 (6.98%)
Andy Murray 18,754 (5.48%)
Andrew Strauss 17,994 (5.26%)
Alastair Cook 13,038 (3.81%)
Rory McIlroy 11,915 (3.48%)
Dai Greene 9,022 (2.64%)
Amir Khan 6,262 (1.83%)