|Bradley looking good receiving his award|
"It was," said Bradley Wiggins, "the year to be British wasn't it." It was also the year to be a British cyclist and above all the year to be Bradley Wiggins, crowned as BBC Sports Personality of the Year to engrave 2012 as Britain's year of the bike.
Wiggins, dressed in a navy velvet suit, won the public vote – with more than one and a half million people voting – to succeed his former Sky team-mate Mark Cavendish. It is a nation's recognition not only of his historic achievement in becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France and following that by claiming Olympic gold just days after parading down the Champs-Elysees in yellow, but also a personality, sometime edgy, sometimes unpredictable, always worth listening to, that was on full display last night. "I am not going to swear tonight," he said as he collected the prestigious award.
His win in the time trail in London was his fourth Olympic gold medal and seventh in all, leaving him alongside Sir Chris Hoy, also shortlisted last night, as Britain's most decorated Olympian. On a night that unfolded as an unashamedly red, white and blue wallow in Olympic and Paralympic achievements
"When they didn't mention Mo I thought, 'oh God, I'm not in the top three" said Wiggins. "I thought I was in with a chance but when you are up against Jess and Mo and Andy, you never expect it on a plate." With Dave Brailsford, the guru behind Team Sky and Britain's Olympic team, winning coach of the year – not forgetting Yorkshire pitching a winning bid for the 2014 Tour – it caps a remarkable year for the sport in the UK. Globally cycling may be reeling from the impact of Lance Armstrong's unmasking as a drug cheat, but in this country it has never been in better shape, either at grass roots or elite level, and that will be recognised this week when the next round of funding in announced. They will be well rewarded.
The BBC has released some of the voting figures. Wiggins got 30 per cent, Ennis 23 and Murray 14. The cyclist's margin of victory was just over 120,000 votes. At least 6 of those were mine!
Asked how he would celebrate being voted the nation’s Sports Personality of the Year, Bradley Wiggins winked.
‘I will go home and have a cup of tea,’ he said before breaking into a smile. ‘It’s a free bar so it would be rude not to give it a hiding.’ That sounds more like it.
Seven hours later a bleary-eyed Wiggins was photographed in a McDonald’s; his blue velvet double-breasted suit from a Soho tailor looking more than a tad dishevelled. Early rumours suggest that McDonalds are about to rename their signature dish - what's the betting we'll be seeing a 'Wig Mac' on the menu soon.