This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Bradley Wiggins has capped a mammoth 2012 by winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award on Sunday night. Wiggins won the vote ahead of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis and US Open tennis winner Andy Murray.
Wiggins became Britain’s first Tour winner in season which also included victories at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphiné and the individual time trial at the London Olympic Games.
“What a year,” said the 32-year-old. “To stand on this stage with the people next to me is incredible. I’d like to thank my team-mates, I wouldn’t be on this stage without them. I’d like to thank [British Cycling chief] Dave Brailsford, the coaches, British Cycling, Team Sky and all the Olympians.”
Wiggins is the third cyclist in five years to have won the award, with Mark Cavendish topping the vote in 2011 and Sir Chris Hoy in 2008. Tommy Simpson was the first cyclist to claim the award in 1965 following his world championship victory.
Wiggins explained that he felt embarrassed to have been singled out.
“I feel embarrassed because so many other people played a part in this sporting year. It was amazing.
“Cycling is a team sport and I couldn’t have done it without the squad behind me, the team of riders and the personnel behind them. All the athletes here tonight will know that we’re not alone in what we do, it’s the people behind us that make it happen.
“At the end of the day we’re just the athletes. That sound really demeaning but there is an incredible team of people behind every athlete in this room who make it happen and I’m no different.”
Meantime, Dave Brailsford was voted Coach of the Year for the second time, having first won it in 2008.
Brailsford, Great Britain’s Performance Director and Sky’s Team Principal was credited for the phenomenal performance of the squads in a momentous year for British Cycling, especially with a home Olympic Games.
Brailsford, like Wiggins, explained that it was important to note that cycling is very much a team sport.
“It’s a privilege to get this award – this year of all years after such a fantastic summer of sport. I guess I’m the lucky one who gets to come up and collect the award, but behind me is a fantastic team at British Cycling and Team Sky.
“My job is to look after other people and get them to be better, and of course we’re only ever going to be as good as our riders. There’s be lots of talk about coaches but it is about the athletes, it is about the riders, and we’ve got a brilliant team at British Cycling and Team Sky who invariably deliver when they need to.
“Given that it is a coaching award I would like to thank the Head Coach at British Cycling Shane Sutton, and all the team for all the work that they’ve done. They did such a good job at the Olympics that the French team thought our wheels were rounder than theirs.
“And in Team Sky, I’d like to thank Tim Kerrison and Rod Ellingworth who’ve done a brilliant job on the performance side of that team, and Ian Drake who’s the Chief Exec of British Cycling and Brian Cookson, and Jeremy Darroch for believing in us four years ago when everyone sniggered when we said we were going to win the Tour de France in five year’s time, within five year’s time with a clean British rider.”