Bradley Wiggins was crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2012 at a star-studded awards ceremony in London on Sunday night.
Wiggins – who succeeds Mark Cavendish as the holder of one of Britain’s most prestigious titles – fought off some strong competition in the public vote, pushing heptathlete Jessica Ennis into second place, and tennis star Andy Murray into third.
The achievement caps a remarkable year for the 32 year old, who won Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie before defending his Criterium du Dauphine title in June, and then became the first British rider to win the Tour de France before capturing his sixth Olympic gold medal in the men’s time trial.
After collecting his prize, Wiggins told the BBC: “I’d like to say thank you very much to everyone who picked the phone up and voted.
“What a year. To stand on this stage with these people next to me is incredible. I’d like to thank my team-mates because without them I wouldn’t be here tonight.
“I’d like to thank Dave Brailsford, Shane Sutton and Tim Kerrison, British Cycling, Sky, and all the Olympians who are here as well.”
When he’d been invited onto the stage earlier in the evening to accept his nomination, Wiggins had preceeded by saying: “I feel embarrassed because so many other people played a part in this sporting year. It was amazing.
“Cycling is a team sport and I couldn’t have done it without the squad behind me, the team of riders and the personnel behind them. All the athletes here tonight will know that we’re not alone in what we do, it’s the people behind us that make it happen.
“At the end of the day we’re just the athletes. That sound really demeaning but there is an incredible team of people behind every athlete in this room who make it happen and I’m no different.”
Brailsford takes coach prize
If that wasn’t enough, Team Principal Dave Brailsford was also voted Coach of the Year by a select panel of judges for overseeing Team Sky’s monumental season as well as Great Britain’s cycling heroes at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In his acceptance speech, Brailsford said: “It’s a privilege to get this award - this year of all years after such a fantastic summer of sport. I guess I’m the lucky one who gets to come up and collect the award, but behind me is a fantastic team at British Cycling and Team Sky.
“My job is to look after other people and get them to be better, and of course we’re only ever going to be as good as our riders. There’s be lots of talk about coaches but it is about the athletes, it is about the riders, and we’ve got a brilliant team at British Cycling and Team Sky who invariably deliver when they need to.
“Given that it is a coaching award I would like to thank the Head Coach at British Cycling Shane Sutton, and all the team for all the work that they’ve done. They did such a good job at the Olympics that the French team thought our wheels were rounder than theirs.
“And in Team Sky, I’d like to thank Tim Kerrison and Rod Ellingworth who’ve done a brilliant job on the performance side of that team, and Ian Drake who’s the Chief Exec of British Cycling and Brian Cookson, and Jeremy Darroch for believing in us four years ago when everyone sniggered when we said we were going to win the Tour de France in five year’s time, within five year’s time with a clean British rider.”