Bradley Wiggins has become the third cyclist in five years to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. The Tour de France and Olympic time trial champion follows in the footsteps of 2008 winner Sir Chris Hoy and last year's victor, Mark Cavendish. Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis was second, with Andy Murray, winner of the men's singles at the Olympics and the US Open, third. Dave Brailsford of Team Sky and British Cycling took the Coach of the Year title, which he had previously won following the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
A cyclist was always hotly tipped for the title, given that Wiggins, Hoy and Sarah Storey made up three of the 12 nominees for the prize.
Dressed in a velvet, double breasted, brass buttoned slim dark suit by Soho tailor Mark Powell and shiny black shoes, Wiggo swaggered up to the stage to the tune of Oasis's Fucking in the Bushes, to introduce himself - the first of the nominees to do so, just as he had been the first British athlete to appear in the London Olympics Opening Ceremony when he rang the bell to get the party started.
He joked that it wasn't an individual effort to achieve the joint Tour and Olympic victories, but, much like Gary Lineker's makeup, it was a team masterpiece, and repeatedly called Sue Barker 'Susan', to the delight of the crowd.
Accepting his prize later, he gave a shout-out to the BBC's free bar backstage, confirming suspicions that he may have familiarised himself with his surroundings at London's Excel before the show got under way.
Wiggins, Storey and Hoy were up against Ennis, Murray, Ellie Simmonds, Katherine Grainger, Ben Ainslie, David Weir, Nicola Adams, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Rory McIlroy for the prize, returned by the 2011 winner Mark Cavendish.
Golfer McIlroy was the only sportsperson nominated not to have win Olympic or Paralympic gold in London this summer.
The prize was voted for by the audience in a live Eurovision-style phone in, with each personality stating his or her case live on the BBC One programme after a montage of their achievements had been shown.
Hoy, Britain's greatest Olympian, joined the ceremonies live from Perth, Australia, while Sarah Storey, who took 4 Paralympic gold medals this summer, making her one of the most successful Paralympians of all time, wore a black feathered cocktail dress for her appearance.
Had there been a prize for the show-stopping outfit of the night, though, it would almost certainly have gone to the red, figure-hugging dress sported by Ennis. The cheers that greeted her as she walked up to the stage suggested that Wiggins might not be such a clear favourite as many had assumed.
While it has been a golden year for cycling, which quite rightly garnered much of the attention this evening – not all of it welcome, with former Overseas Sports Personality winner Lance Armstrong popping up briefly on screen – it was also an occasion to celebrate all sporting achievement.
None proved more emotional than the story of Martine Wright, who the day after London had been awarded the Games back in 2005 lost both legs in the Aldgate bomb on July 7, and made it her mission to gain a place at the Paralympic Games, which she did in the sitting volleyball event.
Great Britain’s Olympic cyclists were expected to be among the frontrunners for the Team of the Year award, which they had clinched four years ago following their stunning performance at the Beijing Olympics.
However, in contravention of the BBC’s own rules, the award instead went to the whole of Team GB and Paralympics GB, and was accepted on behalf of all of both teams’ athletes by Victoria Pendleton, who described London 2012 as “a once in a lifetime experience.”
The terms and conditions for the Team of the Year award, published on the BBC website, explicitly state: “For the avoidance of doubt this criteria [sic] excludes Team GB/Paralympics GB but includes the likes of British Cycling, Rowing Coxless Four and the European Ryder Cup team.”
It’s a doubly unfortunate gaffe given that the BBC is under particular scrutiny at the moment, as well as the fact that the nomination process for the main award this year had been changed following last year’s controversy over an all-male shortlist.
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.