Cyclist Mark Cavendish and golfer Darren Clarke top the bookies’ list to win the 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in December.
Cavendish and Clarke were part of the 10 sportspeople on the award shortlist announced on Monday evening on the BBC’s The One Show.
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Bookmaker William Hill has Cavendish as outright favourite with odds of 6/5 to take the award. Clarke is close second at 7/4.
The other eight on the shortlist, with current William Hill odds: Luke Donald (golf – 20/1), Rory McIlroy (golf – 7/1), Mo Farah (athletics – 8/1), Dai Greene (athletics – 50/1), Amir Khan (boxing – 100/1), Andy Murray (tennis – 100/1), Alastair Cook (cricket – 50/1) and Andrew Strauss (cricket – 100/1).
The shortlist was drawn up after the sports editors of 27 newspapers and magazines submitted their nominations to the BBC. Cavendish was nominated by 23 of the 27 publications. The full list of nominees submitted by each publication can be found on the BBC’s website.
Having been on the SPOTY shortlist for the past two years, Cavendish has his best chance yet of winning the award after a stellar year in the saddle. In July, he became the first Britain to win the green jersey at the Tour de France and in September became the first Briton since Tom Simpson in 1965 to win the road race World Championship.
Cavendish has undoubtedly risen in the public eye in the past few months, having made numerous television appearances. Media attention has also turned on the Manxman heading into Olympic year as he is widely tipped to take the men’s road race victory in London.
Golfer Clarke from Northern Ireland won the 2011 Open Championship at the age of 42 at his 20th attempt.
BMX star Shanaze Reade and track sprint queen Victoria Pendleton both received nominations, but not enough to make it into the final 10.
The winner will be decided by public vote during a live broadcast of the SPOTY award ceremony on Thursday, December 22, on BBC One.
A Twitter-based internet campaign to get people voting for Cavendish has started using the hashtag #cav4spoty.