25/01/2013 | 2 comments
Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, has received a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list.
Dave Brailsford, Wiggins’ team principal at Sky Pro Cycling, and performance director at British Cycling, has received the same honour.
And 11-time Paralympic gold medalist, Sarah Storey, has been made a Dame after her haul of four gold medals in London.
All three will be able to use their honorific titles in daily life, but Wiggins said he would not now be known as Sir Bradley.
“It’s an incredible honour and an incredible thing to have,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s something I am going to use in daily life but an amazing thing to have in the drawer for my wife, my kids, my family – it’s topped the year off.”
Wiggins followed his historic triumph in July by winning the seventh Olympic medal of his career – and fourth gold – with victory at the London Games a week later to become Britain’s most decorated Olympian.
Sarah Storey was the standout athlete of this summer’s Paralympic Games, winning gold on the track in the individual pursuit C5 and the C4-5 500m time trial, and on the road in the individual time trial C5 and the individual road race C4-5.
In the last event, held at the Brands Hatch motor racing circuit, Storey started two minutes behind the men’s field but passed them en route to a victory of more than seven minutes of her closest female challenger.
She said receiving a Damehood had left her speechless:
“I never expected any additional awards after my sporting success, I love competing for my country and that is a huge honour in itself.
Storey was first honoured in 1998 when she received the MBE and again in 2009 when she was given an OBE.
“Now to be a Dame is beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I cannot thank my family, friends, coaches and support staff over all the years enough for their devotion in helping me to follow the path of becoming the best athlete I can possibly be.”
Dave Brailsford is widely credited with bringing about a revolution in elite performance at British Cycling; at the very least with building on the solid foundations laid by his predecessor in the role of performance director, Peter Keen.
The London Olympic and Paralympic Games were the second in succession in which his teams topped cycling’s medal table and delivered the most success of any sport contested by Great Britain.
Brailsford’s intention to produce a clean, British winner of the Tour de France within five years when he launched Team Sky at the end of 2009 was met with scorn by many of the sport’s established teams and commentators, but in 2012, after just three years on the road, he delivered on his commitment two years ahead of schedule.
Team Sky also finished second at the Tour with Chris Froome, and by the end of the season were the most successful of any competing in the UCI’s elite WorldTour.
Brailsford said: “It’s a great pleasure to receive this honour and tops off a fantastic year.
“I am extremely fortunate to have worked with an amazing team of riders and staff at both British Cycling and Team Sky and it is they who deserve the credit as our achievements are truly a team effort and I thank them all immensely.”
There were further awards for cyclists.
Newly retired track sprinter, Victoria Pendelton, a nine-time world champion and double Olympic gold medalist, who became Olympic keirin champion in London, received a CBE.
Double Olympic gold medalists, Jason Kenny and Laura Trott, have been made OBEs, while MBEs have been handed to Steven Burke, Mark Colbourne, Neil Fachie, Philip Hindes, Peter Kennaugh, Dani King, Craig MacLean and Jo Rowsell.
The honours cement cycling’s place as a mainstream sport in Britain and places its athletes among the most celebrated of any sport.
British Cycling’s president, Brian Cookson, described the awards as a fitting end to a phenomenal year.
“Dave, Bradley and Sarah’s outstanding achievements this year have made us all proud to be British and have shone a spotlight on our sport, inspiring hundreds of thousands of people to take up cycling.
“Cycling is the sport that has redefined our national sporting identity this year and it is fantastic to see this recognised in the New Year Honours list. On behalf of all their colleagues and fellow members of British Cycling, I warmly congratulate all three on achieving this highest of all national honours.”