Mark Cavendish, winner of the green points jersey in July’s Tour de France which he followed up in September by taking the world championship road race in Copenhagen, has been named the Sports Journalists’ Association’s Sportsman of the Year for 2011.
The 26-year-old, who has signed for Team Sky for 2011 after the demise this year of his HTC-Highroad team, was presented with the award at a lunch in London today. Swimmer Rebecca Adlington won the Sportswoman of the Year trophy.
Cavendish joins some illustrious names from the world of cycling in receiving the award, which was instituted in 1949. Reg Harris was one of five sportsmen who shared top honours in that debut year, and he won it outright 12 months later.
In 1965, the year in which he became the first British man to win the world road race championship, Tom Simpson was named SJA Sportsman of the year, and in 2008 the award went to Sir Chris Hoy, winner of three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics that year.
The Sportswoman of the Year award was first presented in 1959, with Beryl Burton the first cyclist to receive the honour, in 1967. Victoria Pendleton won that award in 2007.
The SJA awards are among the most prestigious in British sport, and Cavendish also leads the field for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, which will be decided by a public phone vote coinciding with live coverage of the event from Salford on the evening of 22 December.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.