Geraint Thomas named BOA Olympic Cycling Athlete of the Year
Fitting reward for a great season on the bike
Mark Cavendish isn't winning all the awards on offer at the moment as the British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that Cav's Sky teammate Geraint Thomas had been chosen as the Olympic Athlete of the Year for cycling in 2011.
Commenting on his win Thomas said:
“If I am honest, it's a massive shock to receive this great award! But it is also a massive honour. The way cycling is at the minute makes this an even greater achievement. It is really nice to get some recognition for all the dedication and hard work that we put in day in day out."
The BOA gives awards to all the 32 summer and winter Olympic sports to present to their top performing athletes of the year. Some will no doubt be surprised that Mark Cavendish didn't win this one - given his victory at the Road World Championships in October, but Thomas has had a great year too following up a good showing in the Spring Classics with his first win on the road in May at the Bayern-Rundfahrt and wearing the white jersey for the best young rider during an impressive Tour de France and he capped the year off by playing a pivotal role in helping Cavendish win Britain's first gold medal at the UCI Road World Championships since 1965. (You can read more about Geraint's thoughts on how his season went and his plans for 2012 in our interview with him.)
Althought the award is the BOA's who gets it is actually decided by the governing body of each Olympic sport according to the BOA it presents the award to "each of the Olympic sports for them to award on an annual basis" which suggests that it was British Cycling that give him the nod - Thomas has shown himself to be possibly the ultimate team player this year, a quality highly prized by those in charge at Team Sky and cycling's governing body. The odd eyebrow may be raised though given the fact that British Cycling is currently orchestrating a campaign to ensure that Mark Cavendish gets the maximum vote in the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Award for which he is the clear favourite and which will be awarded tomorrow night.
The BOA first introduced its Olympic Athlete of the Year Awards in 2005 to mark it's centenary year and to help build interest in the run up to the Olympics. Previous winners of the cycling award include Lizzie Armistead in 2009 and Emma Pooley last year… in 2008 Sir Chris Hoy won the award just before becoming the first cyclist since Tom Simpson to win the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Award. In what is hopefully not an omen for Mark Cavendish's chances two of his main rivals; athlete Mo Farah, and the tennis player Andy Murray both won the BOA awards for their sports. Luckily we're all rational cyclists and we don't believe in omens.