An extraordinarily successful year for Chris Hoy has been capped off in superb style by the announcement that the triple Olympic gold medal winner has been knighted in the New Year's Honours List.
The award is recognition for the achievements of the 32 year old track cyclist from Edinburgh who won three gold medals at last summer's Beijing Olympics in the process becoming: Scotland's most successful ever Olympian; the first Briton to secure a hat-trick of gold medals at one Olympics in 100 years; and the most successful male Olympic cyclist of all time.
Hoy, who got an MBE after winning gold at the Athens Olympics, was not the only member of Team GB to be honoured in the list – there were also gongs for 18 other riders from both the Olympic and Paralympic teams in recognition of their efforts.
Bradley Wiggins, who won double gold in Beijing to add to the medals he won at the Athens Olympics, and David Brailsford, British Cycling Performance Director, have both been made Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) – basically one step down from a knighthood – while the rest of the cyclists honoured have been awarded MBEs (Member of the Order of the British Empire).
Hoy, who is heading to The Netherlands on Friday to compete in the Rotterdam six-day event, is still getting used to the idea of being a cycling knight:
“Its incredible and I'm absolutely delighted. I still cant quite believe it to be honest. To be given a Knighthood is an enormous honour and it means so much to me and also to my family. I was stunned when I first found out and the news is still sinking in. Im not sure if I will ever get used to people calling me Sir Chris!
“2008 has been a phenomenal year for British sport and cycling in particular, and its good to see so many people in the sport being recognised for all their hard work and achievements. This is an amazing way to start the New Year and a tremendous boost for everyone.”
Commenting on his CBE Dave Brailsford said: ”I'm so proud of what everyone in the GB Team has achieved and it is such a privilege to be honoured in this way. 2009 marks 50 years since British Cycling was established and this is a remarkable way to start the organisations Golden Anniversary year.”
2008 has been an amazing year for Britain's track cyclists and for British Cycling; on home turf at the World Championships in the Spring the British team came close to a complete sweep of all the events they entered, and then underlined that dominance at the Beijing Olympics winning on both road and track, and the organisation announced last month that its membership is the highest ever.
All this was amazing enough, but in December came stunning proof of the impact of all this cycling success. Four cyclists made the 10 person shortlist for the BBC's Sports Personality of The Year Award with Hoy winning a public vote in emphatic style and the cyclists collectively gathering well over 50 per cent of all the votes cast.
That Hoy, Brailsford, and the rest of the Olympic and Paralympic cyclists should have been honoured is no surprise, but as ever in 2008 and right to the last they continue to exceed expectations in everything they do.
Full list of Great Britain Cycling Team members honoured in the 2009 New Year List:
Chris Hoy Sir (KBE)
Bradley Wiggins CBE
Victoria Pendleton MBE
Rebecca Romero MBE
Jason Kenny MBE
Jamie Staff MBE
Ed Clancy MBE
Paul Manning MBE
Nicole Cooke MBE
Geraint Thomas MBE
Darren Kenny OBE
Sarah Storey OBE
Aileen McGlynn OBE
Jody Cundy MBE
Barney Storey MBE
David Stone MBE
Anthony Kappes MBE
Mark Bristow MBE
Simon Richardson MBE
David Brailsford CBE
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.