Cavendish tops perfect year with BBC award

Tour de France hero struggles to hold back the tears after becoming only the third cyclist to win the prestigious title

AN EMOTIONAL Mark Cavendish last night hailed his success in winning the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award as a landmark occasion for British cycling.

The 26-year-old sprint sensation’s stunning year included being crowned Britain’s second ever world champion following his road race exploits in Copenhagen and claiming the Green Jersey at the Tour de France.

Cavendish won the public vote ahead of Open golf champion Darren Clarke and Mo Farah, who claimed gold in the 5,000m and silver in the 10,000m at September’s World Championships in Daegu.

“I’m absolutely speechless, really. A few of my team-mates are here and they’ll say that’s a rare thing” said Cavendish.

“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.”

Elsewhere, England’s magnificent achievement of winning the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time since 1987, before becoming the No1 Test side in the world were recognised as they claimed the Team of the Year award, while Andy Flower won the Coach of the Year award.

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave won the Lifetime Achievement award.