Speechless Mark Cavendish claims BBC Sports Personality prize
Mark Cavendish enjoyed his best ever season in 2011 became only the third cyclist to win BBC Sports Personality of Year
For a man who famously talks as quick as he pedals it was a strange sight – Mark Cavendish totally lost for words after being voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Cavendish’s exploits in 2011, which saw him become the first British rider to win the world road race title in more than 50 years and secure the green jersey at the Tour de France, made him an odds on favourite to win the award.
And he comfortably beat off competition from Open champion Darren Clarke, who finished second, and third placed Mo Farah, who won 5,000m gold and 10,000m silver at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu.
Cavendish polled a massive 49.4 per cent of the public vote, well ahead of Clarke, who registered 12.3 per cent, and Farah, who garnered 8.7 per cent of support.
“I had a group of guys in Copenhagen who rode incredible and brought the rainbow jersey back to Britain,” said Cavendish, who joins Tommy Simpson and Sir Chris Hoy as cycling’s only winners of the award.
“We can produce such champions from such a small place. To be nominated against nine inspirational people, I’m just lost for words.
“It’s a landmark in cycling. I take this on behalf of cycling. For cycling to be recognised in a non-Olympic year would have been unheard of. It’s an honour, it’s an honour.”
Cavendish, whose model girlfriend Peta Todd is expecting their first child next year, also won the London 2012 road race test event and will go for Olympic gold on the first day of the Games – meaning the pressure will be on to get Team GB off the medal mark.
He also recently received the MBE from The Queen at Buckingham Palace and was also voted sportsman of the year by British sports writers.