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