Mark Cavendish wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award to cap outstanding 2011

Manx Missile picks up British sport's biggest end of year honour, Lucy Garner misses out

by Simon_MacMichael   December 22, 2011  

BBC SPOTY trophy (picture credit BBC)

Mark Cavendish has capped a hugely successful 2011 season by tonight being named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He becomes just the third cyclist to win the award after Tom Simpson in 1965 and Sir Chris Hoy in 2008. Junior women’s road world champion Lucy Garner missed out on the Young Sports Personality award, won by golfer Lauren Taylor.

In the main award, decided by a public phone vote, golfer Darren Clarke finished second and athlete Mo Farah was third. Cavendish confirmed the favourite tag conferred upon him by the bookies by commanding an astonishing 169,152 votes 49.47% of all the votes cast, second placed Clarke got 42,188 (12.34%). It might be stating the obvious but it's is nevertheless worth stating that Mark Cavendish polled almost the same number of votes as the other nine finalists combined.

Accepting the award, Cavendish initially said he was "speechless" but quickly regained his composure to thank the team mates who had made his successes this season possible, just as he always does after winning a race.

Cavendish had two aims at the start of the year – to win the Tour de France green jersey that had eluded him in the previous two editions of the race, and to win the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen. The 26-year-old Manxman achieved both goals in style.

On his way to taking the points classification in the Tour, Cavendish won five stages took his personal haul in cycling’s biggest race to 20 stage victories, and is now within touching distance of becoming the Tour’s most successful ever sprinter, currently André Darrigade who won 22 stages between 1953 and 1964.

Taking individual time trials into account, Eddy Merckx tops the list with stage 34 wins, and at his current strike rate you wouldn't bet against Cavendish beating that record in a few years' time.

With his first two participations in the race cut short in 2007 and 2008, Cavendish has raced three times on the Champs-Elysées, and won each time; this year, however, he did so in the green jersey, and became only the second British rider after Robert Millar to win a jersey of any description at the Tour.

Copenhagen in September saw the culmination of a three-year project to get Cavendish across the line first to claim the rainbow jersey, his seven Great Britain team mates each playing a vital role in ensuring that no-one was allowed to escape and set up a bunch finish.

With an uphill drag to the line inside the final kilometre and Cavendish forced onto the right hand side of the course as others sought to disrupt his leadout, the result was by no means a foregone conclusion.

Cavendish, however, showed that he isn’t a sprinter who relies wholly on a smooth train to get him results, coming out of the bunch on HTC-Highroad team mate Matt Goss’s wheel and outsprinting the Australian to win by half a wheel.

Other victories during the year included two stages of the Giro d’Italia, two in the Tour of Britain, a record-equalling third win in the Groe Scheldeprijs, and taking the London-Surrey Cycle Classic Olympic test event.

Next year, Cavendish is looking to retain the green jersey at the Tour with his new outfit, Team Sky, and less than a week after that race concludes has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win the Olympic road race on home roads at London 2012.

The year will prove a landmark in his life off the bike, too, with girlfriend Peta Todd, who has a son by a previous relationship, expecting the couple’s first child.

Today’s award is the latest in a succession of honours for Cavendish, who recently picked up his MBE at Buckingham Palace. He won a Jaguar Academy of Sport Award for Most Inspirational Sportsman of the Year, was named Sportsman of the Year by the Sports Journalists’ Association, and the Bidlake Memorial Plaque.

Garner was Great Britain’s other rainbow jersey winner at Copenhagen, the 16-year-old from Leicestershire overcoming a crash earlier in the race to burst through and beat Belgium’s Jessy Druyts in the sprint.

While she missed out on the Young Sports Personality award, being one of the trio shortlisted out of an initial ten is great recognition of her achievements.

Speaking earlier today to road.cc about the two cyclists in the frame for the awards tonight, British Cycling Performance Director Dave Brailsford said both had thoroughly earned their nominations.

“Mark is one of the greatest and most prolific winners the sport has seen,” said Brailsford, who will also have Cavendish under his charge at Team Sky next season.

“I think it is quite fitting for the Sports Personality of the Year that he has got a big personality, he is interesting, and I think he is starting to transcend the sport now.

“The youngsters out there who we are trying to inspire and get involved in cycling look at Mark and emulate his sprinting, arms in the air, they want to be Mark Cavendish.

“So I think what he’s done for himself is phenomenal, and what he’s done for the sport is phenomenal. What worthy champion, I couldn’t be more happy.

“As for Lucy, her performances this year for such a young athlete have been outstanding and then to win the world championship was amazing.

“I’m very pleased to see cycling get recognised again and certainly from her point of view the future looks amazingly bright, following in the steps of Nicole Cooke really, and long may it continue.”
 

31 user comments

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@Gkam - you're so bloody ungracious. if you haven't got anything good to say about him, probably best to say nothing at all at a time like this.

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posted by Low Speed Wobble [137 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 23:43

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Low Speed Wobble wrote:
@Gkam - you're so bloody ungracious. if you haven't got anything good to say about him, probably best to say nothing at all at a time like this.

So the "well done to him" was not enough for you?

Ungracious, the two meaning i know of that are
1. Not polite or friendly
2. Not graceful

They was i typed that above, was neither rude or unfriendly, and grace doesn't come into posts online i dont think. But to you i may sound Ungracious NOW.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and i was expressing mine, I know he would go on about his team mates as he does in EVERY single interview, its getting very boring, we know its a team sport and doing something solo and winning in cycling is very difficult near on impossible unless its a ITT

SO if you don't like MY opinion, thats your problem, not mine, i'm not going to tailor posts on here to suit what people want to hear, I'll tell it how i see it, feel it and not pull any punches

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posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 23:56

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What has Mark Cavendish got to do with the state of London's roads? He is a worthy winner of this year's SPOTY. I suggest Gkam84 writes to the Mayor of London if he wants action to be taken. It's a shame that people try to spoil a great achievement. YOUR opinion is fine to express but this is neither the right place nor the right time to express it.

Trying not to bonk!

posted by Hypoglycaemic [21 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 0:14

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So 1845 posts in 42wks, you need to spend more time on your bike !

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 0:33

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Sorry if I have offended but I was just expressing a personal opinion. Smile

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 0:44

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Fol de Rol

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [224 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 1:02

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MUTE

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posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 1:08

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MUTE

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posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 1:09

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I see the days of voicing one's opinion on a website which is open to EVERYONES opinion has gone now, So why bother Yawn

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posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 1:28

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Gkam84 wrote:
I see the days of voicing one's opinion on a website which is open to EVERYONE opinion has gone now, So why bother

They certainly haven't gone as far as we're concerned Gkam84 as long as you don't tell anyone who disagrees with you to F-off - which I'm pleased to see you haven't, so please carry on. We're really pleased that Cav won - we all voted for him - and as far as we are concerned your opinion is as valid as anyone else's.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 1:30

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tony_farrelly wrote:

They certainly haven't gone as far as we're concerned Gkam84 as long as you don't tell anyone who disagrees with you to F-off - which I'm pleased to see you haven't, so please carry on. We're really pleased that Cav won - we all voted for him - and as far as we are concerned your opinion is as valid as anyone else's.

I may have said "if i wasn't so polite i might tell you to f**k off" Devil

But i'm glad a cyclist won and the only one there was Cav, well done to him, i just find his speeches and interviews quite boring

I would have been over the moon if the GB team from the world champs won the team of the year ahead of the England cricket team though

The other thing i said was, Someone should grab him at get him onto some campaigns regarding UK roads and general cycling conditions in the UK, but got blasted all over for that. I feel now his face is more widely recognised by other people who watch only one sport, likes of Golf, Cricket, Football and may not pay any attention to other sports, but watched SPOTY, I think his face is getting wider recognition these days, so why not capitalise on it and get cycling issues, like the road, the conditions we face in commuting and other issues to the forefront of peoples minds

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posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 1:47

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Well done Cav. The best guy one it. Golf!!! Is that a sport?!

Great to have a sportsman from the sport of my choice (which is often overlooked) out on top. This is another step to get more people out on bicycles and making our sport more present on the sporting map, which is only a good thing.

Well done.

posted by yocto [20 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 8:33

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"i just find his speeches and interviews quite boring"...............funny that Thinking

At least he puts his money where his mouth is and lets his legs do the talking Cool

Congratulations to Mark it's given my Christmas mood a boost!

posted by BikerBob [115 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 10:00

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Well done to Mark Cavendish. That percentage of vote is amazing if only cycling had as much TV coverage as that vote indicates.

Any chance the BBC would realise that cycling has a big following and cover it accordingly? Perhaps live televised stages of the Tour of Britain?

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [278 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 10:04

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Top job by Mark. Another success that should help the profile of pro cycling in this country (which is still abysmal).

I've had mixed feelings about Mark at times but in many ways he is a great role model. If you base your opinion of him on a few ill-mannered outbursts he's made in the past I don't think you'll get a proper picture. Having read many interviews, profiles and so on, particularly during this year, he seems to have matured but also has the passion and drive of a great competitor.

As far as I can see Mark thanks his team so profusely because he is wholly aware that not only do they work so hard for him to win but invariably sacrifice their own ambitions for his success. The 3 years of work that went into the Worlds road race was discussed in December's Cycle Sport mag and is an eye-opener. In the same issue an interview with HTC domestique Lars Bak gives a glimpse of how dedicated those boys were to getting him over the finish line first.

I'm not asking people to like him, but I have to wonder what there is to be gained by slating him in this particular thread. Perhaps you'd prefer it if someone in casual clothing that knocks a little white ball round a park really deserves to beat him to the BBC's top sports award of the year.

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posted by Simon E [1910 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 10:58

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Anyone who thinks Cav's interviews are boring should compare them to the output of footballers. Cav conveys facts, opinions, a range of emotions and appropriate gratitude in the interviews I've watched. A premiership player's contributions are usually along the lines of "Well, you know, like, obviously, done good, at the end of the day, the ref, literally, like, you know."

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 10:59

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You beat me to it, Simon E.

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 11:03

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While I think of it, what does 'MUTE' stand for? Is it something to do with the football team that has so many fanatics in the south east?

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 11:44

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Coleman wrote:
Cav conveys facts, opinions, a range of emotions and appropriate gratitude in the interviews I've watched.

Mark is also known for his remarkable attention to detail, real passion for the history of the sport. Even his tweets show humility, particularly in connection with his girlfriend's charity work.

Alan Sugar tweeted on hearing the news of his success "Brilliant news Cyclist Mark Cavendish voted BBC sports personality of the year". Alan Sugar has 1.3 million followers on Twitter and isn't known for indulging people for whom he doesn't have time.

Smile

Edit: CW says Cavendish polled 169,152 (49.47% of the votes).
Further edit: Cav polled FOUR TIMES the number of votes for second place Darren Clarke!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/sports_personality/16311328.stm

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posted by Simon E [1910 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 11:51

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I didn't watch the show but followed it on twitter and duly voted for Cav - it was quite funny how twitter lit up as soon as the phone numbers were disclosed. I think I saw tweets from Geraint Thomas, Matt Brammeier and Peta Todd fly past, not to mention Cycling Weekly (and probably rcc, can't remember, sorry).

I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to vote for Lucy Garner also, though. I don't know much about golf, I'm sure the girl that won is a brilliant golfer and a worthy winner, but I do have an appreciation of what it must take to be world road race champion...

Pete

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posted by PeteH [159 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 13:47

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The "Mute" posts from me are where i edited out what i had said because i was sick fed up of the numbskull's abuse lastnight Big Grin

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posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 15:50

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oh, and GKam, I think your opinion is worthwhile. People have the right to disagree with it (which I may or may not have done, all I can see in your comments now is "mute"), but you certainly have the right to express it. As someone who generally holds a minority view myself, I can empathise.

As I say, not sure exactly what you said, but from other comments I'd possibly agree with you inasmuch as what interviews by sportsmen are generally dull. I mean, they're sportsmen after all, they're not running the country. In Cavendish's case, I remember seeing him being interviewed on breakfast tv and being asked whether he ever nipped down to the shops on his bike. I mean, how ******* ignorant a question is that? So I can feel for him in some ways.

And when they do dare to stray off their specialised subjects.....well look at all the grief Alan Hansen's getting at the moment for what in my book was a totally innocent remark. Ignorant, for sure, but not malicious - it doesn't surprise me in the least that a 55yo affluent white guy would use the word "coloured", but he's being vilified in some quarters for it.

Pete

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posted by PeteH [159 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 15:51

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Gkam84 wrote:
The "Mute" posts from me are where i edited out what i had said because i was sick fed up of the numbskull's abuse lastnight Big Grin

Perhaps in future you won't post what you are not prepared to defend. Removing posts certainly suggests regret at making those posts. And having been the one to espouse the value of free expression of opinion, and then to describe those who disagreed with you as 'numbskulls' smacks of rudeness and ignorance. It is a shame that you polluted this post, which reports a great end to our cycling year, with negative words. They would have been better saved for another day. I hope this is the end of the matter.

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posted by Low Speed Wobble [137 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 16:26

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I used to think from Cav's interviews that he was a bit , well...one dimensional? Having listened to him on Realpeleton podcast I agree with Ned B and Matt R that he is pretty smart, tired of the press already and careful about what he says and how he says it - which can lead to saying the same thing again and again.

As a comparison with footballers it's interesting to realise that Cav had to learn French alongside car washing as part of his apprenticeship with Team GB and judging from another episode on Realpeleton with Wiggins it's easy to be misquoted by the press in either language - regardless of how well you speak both.

And to answer a much earlier question; No - of course Golf isn't a sport! My rule of thumb is if you get out of breath it's a sport; if you just tap something, ride in or on something that you don't power yourself, or chuck something at a cork board it's a LEISURE activity. Nothing wrong with it - but it isn't a sport.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 16:30

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Congrat's Cav - nice to see someone win who is the best in the World at the sport rather just good at it!

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 16:35

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ditto

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 16:40

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Low Speed Wobble wrote:

Perhaps in future you won't post what you are not prepared to defend. Removing posts certainly suggests regret at making those posts. And having been the one to espouse the value of free expression of opinion, and then to describe those who disagreed with you as 'numbskulls' smacks of rudeness and ignorance. It is a shame that you polluted this post, which reports a great end to our cycling year, with negative words. They would have been better saved for another day. I hope this is the end of the matter.

No thats not why i removed them, I was quite happy to defend what i said, but then with every further post the list of abuse grew, so i took them off to save futher sh*t for people who cant let others have a view on something without having a go at them for their views, This is normally a very friendly site, but to express my opinion and then get a few others just having digs for the sake of it is pathetic on their part, then running out of things to say and having a go about my amount of posts just was the end of it

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posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 20:08

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Gkam84 wrote:
I know he would go on about his team mates as he does in EVERY single interview, its getting very boring, we know its a team sport and doing something solo and winning in cycling is very difficult near on impossible unless its a ITT

Well done Mark Cavendish for thanking his team-mates in every interview. If he didn't, someone would moan about that. I'm sure he can handle being criticised for being gracious.

posted by Mat Brett [1821 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 21:29

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MercuryOne wrote:
As a comparison with footballers it's interesting to realise that Cav had to learn French alongside car washing as part of his apprenticeship with Team GB and judging from another episode on Realpeleton with Wiggins it's easy to be misquoted by the press in either language - regardless of how well you speak both.

And of course the fear of being misquoted was the reason why Migual Indurain would only give interviews in Spanish. I think also that Armstrong would only ever give interviews in English, although that may be because he's American rather than fearful of being misquoted.

Pete

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posted by PeteH [159 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 22:19

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Here's the lengthy Cycle Sport interview with Mark that I mentioned, they have now put it online:

http://www.cyclesportmag.com/features/mark-cavendish-interview-centre-of...

Seeing it confirms that I still much prefer reading the paper version, usually when curled up on the chair in the corner with a mug of coffee to hand (I see there's a copy on ebay, ends 16:46 today).

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posted by Simon E [1910 posts]
24th December 2011 - 12:42

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