Friday, December 23, 2011

Cavendish : Fastest Man In The World : Sports Personality Of The Year ...

He commands Beckham-like levels of fame in Europe. He's won more awards - in Europe - than almost any cyclist, yet until this year in the UK he was less well known, except within cycling circles.

But we knew. We knew long ago. And more importantly, *he* knew. I've never met a man so driven, so 'fuck you, i'm doing it anyway'.

At last night's BBC 2011 Sports Personality Of The Year Award, he not only won, but he won by a landslide, with just a shade under 50% of the total vote. Just deserts, for the first Briton to win the World Road Racing Championship for 46 years and the first ever to win the Tour de France Green Jersey for top sprinter,

For a man labelled as a 'motormouth' he was a little bit shocked, and thoughtful in his acceptance speech. He enthusiastically thanked his team - he always does, in a genuine manner - and went on to say:
“For cycling to be recognised in a non-Olympic year, it's unheard's incredible.The more people who are riding bikes, the more they can appreciate what it means."

"It is not just the Tour de France - one race a year. We are racing 100 days a year. They know what it is to race such distances for such a long time. They appreciate all it takes to do that."

"There couldn’t be a more perfect way to go into the Olympics than as Sports Personality of the country. We go in, it’s the first medal on offer at the Games and everyone is looking at me and my team to achieve that first goal."

"It couldn’t be more fitting that I am doing that with this accolade under my belt."
British Cycling was honoured after the last Olympics, with all those gold medals. (Although strangely, on the track Mark Cavendish was the only member of the squad of fourteen not to win at least one medal.) But in a non-Olympic year, this is epic.

22/12/2011 - the day Cycling became mainstream. And if it inspires a few thousand to get onto two wheels, help the environment, and get healthy at the same time, that's wonderful.

And Cavendish? He's only 26, but he has, I think, his *best* years ahead of him.