Riding high: Bradley voted best of the best

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BRADLEY Wiggins was last night hailed as Britain’s favourite sporting star as the nation looked back on the incredible achievements of 2012.

The Tour de France and Olympic time trial champion was crowned the winner of BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year after 1.5 million public votes were cast.

Wiggins had been the bookmakers’ odds-on favourite after his historic triumph in the Tour de France and Olympic triumph helped to earn him cult status. He said: “What a year. To stand on this stage with the likes of these people next to me is incredible.” Yorkshire sporting star Jessica Ennis came second after delivering as the poster girl of the London 2012 games with a heptathlon gold.

Andy Murray finished third after a year in which he won an Olympic gold and ended the nation’s 76-year wait for a men’s grand slam singles champion in tennis at the US Open.

The Duchess of Cambridge presented the main prize in her first public appearance since leaving hospital for severe pregnancy sickness.

She also gave a lifetime achievement honour to Sheffield’s Lord Coe.

Olympic and Paralympic heroes dominated this year’s shortlist, with golfer Rory McIlroy the only one of the 12 nominees not to have won medals at London 2012 this summer.

Fittingly this year’s team award went to Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic teams after this summer’s gold medal rush.

Team GB won 65 medals, including 29 golds, while the Paralympians added 34 golds.

The list of nominees had been extended from 10 to 12 this year to reflect the incredible year for British sport.

Sprint star Usain Bolt won the overseas award for the third time after defending three gold medals in London 2012.