British sprint star Mark Cavendish won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award 2011 on Thursday evening after grabbing just under half of all public votes.

The Manxman was on the ten-man shortlist for the award after becoming the first British rider to win the green jersey at the Tour de France and winning the road race world championship.

An obviously overwhelmed Cavendish gave an emotional acceptance speech during which he thanked his fellow team-mates and the fans for voting for him.

“Just even to be nominated in the top 10 this year in such an incredible year in British sport, that we can produce so many champions from such a small place… I really am lost for words,” said Cavendish.

“Thank you to everyone at home who has voted. This is a landmark in cycling and I take this on behalf of cycling.”

Runner-up was golfer Darren Clarke with long-distance runner Mo Farah in third. The winner was decided by public telephone vote during the awards ceremony, broadcast live on BBC One on Thursday, December 22.

Cavendish received just under half of all public votes cast on the night (49.47 per cent), with second-placed Clarke amounting 12.34 per cent of votes.

The final shortlist comprised: Mark Cavendish (cycling), Darren Clarke (golf), Luke Donald (golf), Rory McIlroy (golf), Mo Farah (athletics), Dai Greene (athletics), Amir Khan (boxing), Andy Murray (tennis), Alastair Cook (cricket) and Andrew Strauss (cricket).

Cavendish is the third British cyclist to win the annual BBC award after Tom Simpson, who also won it the same year he won the world championship road race in 1965, and Olympic sprint multi-champion Sir Chris Hoy in 2008.

Breakdown of the vote (from BBC)
Mark Cavendish 169,152 (49.47%)
Darren Clarke 42,188 (12.34%)
Mo Farah 29,780 (8.71%)
Luke Donald 23,854 (6.98%)
Andy Murray 18,754 (5.48%)
Andrew Strauss 17,994 (5.26%)
Alastair Cook 13,038 (3.81%)
Rory McIlroy 11,915 (3.48%)
Dai Greene 9,022 (2.64%)
Amir Khan 6,262 (1.83%) 

Mark Cavendish: 2011 wins
Tour of Oman; stage six
Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen
Giro d’Italia; stage 10
Giro d’Italia; stage 12
Tour de France; stage 5
Tour de France; stage 7
Tour de France; stage 11
Tour de France; stage 15
Tour de France; stage 21
Tour de France; points classification
London-Surrey Cycle Classic (Olympic test event)
Tour of Britain; stage one
Tour of Britain; stage 8b
World Champion, road race  

Related links
Cavendish eager to win Sports Personality says Wiggins
Cavendish’s BBC SPOTY odds slashed by bookies
Cavendish and Clarke top bookies’ list for BBC SPOTY
Cavendish on BBC Sports Personality shortlist
Garner on BBC Young Sports Personality shortlist
Mark Cavendish: Rider Profile


  • Lynne

    Mega Contratulations to Cav! We got our votes in as soon as the lines opened. Would have been amazing to get the double but hopefully Lucy will be a SPOTY winner of the future!

    Can the SPOTY trophy do a lap of honour at the last Revolution Meet? Seems quite fitting especially with the Madison Champs also taking place that afternoon.

    Looking forward to seeing all our UK riders do well in 2012!

  • Ken Evans

    Well done Cav !

    Please be a good ambassador for cycling,
    and NOT behave like a footballer !

    Lucy Garner was robbed,
    golf isn’t even a real sport !

  • Lynn Bailey


  • dai bananas brother

    Just great……and Bob Barber from the Velodrome did a brilliant job on Radio 5 Live later in the evening on the Tony Livesey Phone-in, promoted cycling in a mannered and positive fashion.
    The results of our straw-poll of cyclists out on club runs last Sunday show, by a ratio of 8:1, that people would rather watch the ‘Pobol y Cwm’ Omnibus edition on Sunday afternoons than put up with the European channel’s coverage of the Tour de France. Lots more suspense in the long running Welsh Language soap, and there is no one screaming and shouting down a microphone every two minutes.

  • Pete

    Over the moon that young Mark has won the SPOTY.

    Poor old BBC – they’ve finally had to give in and let the public decide which sport they want to follow and which sports stars they want to support !!

    As Cav said – it’s a landmark for British cycling.

  • Stuart Pearson

    As always, Cav acknowledged his team mates contribution before accepting the accolades for himself.

    The man is on the way to becoming a true sporting legend.

    The share of the vote for him is staggering, and shows the progress made in moving cycling into the sporting mainstream in the UK.

  • J Dunn

    Every cyclist I know was utterly determined that Cavendish should win this.

    It’s a big thank you to Cav for his magnificent performances, a filip for UK cycling, and one in the eye for the BBC which has in the past totally ignored the sport.

  • John Evans

    Huge congratulations to Cav! A true champion in every sense of the word!

  • Mark Jones

    Excellent, well done Cav; a truly deserving winner for once both is a sportsman with a personality. It is just a shame I was out last night, so could not watch it live or vote to make his majority even greater. At last cycling is recognised beyond the Olympics and Cav has helped to propel British Cycling to where it is now. He has raised the bar and set the standards high for others to emulate and there will be a generation coming up who want to be the next Mark Cavendish.

    Who knows, next year it could be Wiggo after his Tour de France win and Olympic Gold in the TT

  • paul

    Brilliant for cycling.
    Shame about the BBC though – they only purchased about 5 seconds of cycling footage, and the left Wouter Weyland out of the obituaries, I know no one really knew him, but nor did anyone know the motorcyclists.

  • phil melville

    But what an awful programme it has become. 3 golfers and 3 cricketers incl. coach and yet not one of the many World Champions we have in other sports especially in this Olympic year when everyone needs all of the encouragement they can get.

    Brilliant for Mark and our sport !

  • Matt

    Very deserving winner – excellent sportsman (with consistent results at the very highest level) and a personality to boot
    Genuine & humble speech
    A sportsman that the country can be proud of

  • Frank Reynolds

    Well done Cav on winning this Award it was well deserved. As I understand it the Margin of Votes cast was overwhelming which makes your popularity even better.

    Best wishes for next years racing.

    Also I am looking forward and giving wishes to all of our British Cyclists who are racing on the Road or Track both here and Abroad to gain more Wins and Medals.

  • arronski

    Result, Cav,s speech was heart felt, well done !

  • Dave Marsh

    What a nice way to wrap up a fantastic season and follow in the wheel marks of the late great Tom Simpson by winning this award after becoming World road race champion . He was odds on favourite by the bookies, but nothing is certain unless the fans get their votes in on the night, just like when Sir Chris Hoy won in 2008. In his speech Cav was a true champion in thanking the team behind him and also those of us that voted for him tonight. Lets hope he can now go on to take gold in next years London Olympic games.

  • badger

    I think i only voted 10 or 11 times …

    at last the BBC SPOTY has grown up – there was no patronising “grazed knees” comments to Cav unlike to Nicole a few year a ago

  • Ali Manners

    Fantastic!!! Well done Cav and what a result for British Cycling!