WORLD champion cyclist Mark Cavendish was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2011 last night at a glittering televised ceremony in Manchester.
The Manx road racer had been the hot favourite to take home the coveted award after winning both the green jersey in the 2011 Tour de France and the 2011 Road World Championships.
Golf’s Open winner Darren Clarke came second, with runner Mo Farah third after his 5,000m world championship win.
“I’m absolutely speechless,” Cavendish said. “Without my teammates this wouldn’t even have been close to possible.”
This year’s BBC event had been marred by controversy, with its 10-strong shortlist containing not a single female sports star.
However, the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award was at least won by teenage golfer Lauren Taylor, who became the youngest winner of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship when she took the title in June aged only 16.
She took last night’s award ahead of other high-achieving teenagers including Harrogate diving star Jack Laugher.
The England cricket team’s enormous achievements in retaining the Ashes in Australia and then becoming the world’s top ranking team by steam-rollering India this summer saw them crowned Team of the Year.
Their coach, Andy Flower, was named Coach of the Year.
The Helen Rollason Award for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity” went to jockey Bob Champion, who won the Grand National in 1981 just months after recovering from cancer, and who has since raised over £12m for charity.
Sir Steve Redgrave’s astonishing Olympic successes were recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tennis star Novak Djokovic was named Overseas Sports Personality of the Year after his dazzling victory at Wimbledon.