Cyclists dominate the shortlist for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award – but the red hot favourite is tennis star Andy Murray, who finishes a hugely successful 2016 as world number one.
Missing from the 16-name shortlist is Tour de France champion Chris Froome, with all four of the cyclists nominated winning gold in the Rio Olympic or Paralympic Games this summer.
Laura Kenny, who helped Team GB retain the team pursuit and also successfully defended her Omnium title, is seen by the bookies as the most likely rider to challenge for a top three spot.
Her husband Jason Kenny, who this summer joined Sir Chris Hoy as Great Britain’s most successful ever Olympian with six gold and one silver medal each, is the other member of the Team GB cycling squad to make the list.
> Book review - The Inside Track: Laura Trott and Jason Kenny
Paralympic GB’s cyclists also have two representatives – Kadeena Cox, who achieved the rare double of winning gold in two sports in Rio, taking the T38 400m on the athletics track and gold in the C4-5 para-cycling time trial, and Dame Sarah Storey who with three golds in Rio became Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian of the modern era. In Rio, she also took bronze behind Cox.
> Kadeena Cox wins track gold - just 24 hours after athletics bronze
Storey rode a Boardman bike in Rio, as did another nominee on the list – Alastair Brownlee, who won triathlon gold for the second Olympic Games in a row.
Along with Trott, Mo Farah, who retained his 5,000 and 10,000 metre titles in dramatic circumstances in Brazil, is seen as most likely to challenge Murray.
However the tennis player, another back-to-back Olympic champion and who also won Wimbledon for the second time is a red-hot favourite to win Sports Personality for an unprecedented third time, after topping the list in 2013 and 2015.
Other competitors from Rio appearing on the list are boxer Nicola Adams, equestrians Sophie Christiansen and Nick Skelton, swimmer Adam Peaty, Team GB hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh and the gymnast, Max Whitlock.
Away from the Olympics and Paralympics, the list is rounded off by footballers Gareth Bale and Jamie Vardy, plus golf’s US Masters champion, Danny Willett.
On the last two occasions Sports Personality of the Year fell in a summer Olympics year, the award went to a cyclist – Hoy after he won three gold medals at Beijing in 2008, and Sir Bradley Wiggins, winner of the Tour de France and the time trial at London 2012.
The only other cyclists to have won the award is Tom Simpson in 1965 and Mark Cavendish in 2011, the years in which each won the road world championships.
Despite a third Tour de France victory in four years, and bronze in the time trial at Rio, there’s no place on the shortlist for Froome. Last year, after winning his second yellow jersey, he placed seventh with 3.86 per cent of the vote.
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