Three reasons why you should vote Cav for BBC Sports Personality of the Year

They say a picture paints a thousand words – so here are three thousand words (and then some) on why you should vote for Mark Cavendish for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The Manx Missile was shortlisted in 2010 but failed to make the top three, with jockey Tony McCoy walking away with the gong ahead of darts player Phil Taylor and heptathlete Jessica Ennis respectively.

Cavendish goes into this year’s ceremony as the bookies favourites – but it’s all down to tonight’s public vote. You can catch the show on BBC One at 8-10pm, and it will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 live.

First Briton to win the green jersey at the Tour de France

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Cavendish doesn’t do things by halves and having won his first Tour de France stage in Chateauroux on 9 July 2008, the then 22-year-old went on to win three more stages in the same race, before claiming six in 2009 and five in 2010. But no green jersey; not for Cavendish, and never for a British rider.

How can a sprinter win 15 stages in three years but not walk away with the overall prize that cycling’s fast men crave? The ASO sat up and took note, tweaking the rules by reducing the number of intermediate sprints to just one, giving it, and in turn the final bunch gallop, more value. And the new rules bore fruit, producing a three week battle for the maillot vert which saw Movistar rider Jose Joaquin Rojas in contention up until the Champs-Elysees.

But if Cavendish is cycling’s greatest performer, than the Champs-Elysees is his stage – and the soon-to-be Team Sky rider claimed the Tour’s final sprint for the third successive year and, with it, the green jersey.

Related reading
Race report – Cavendish wins in Paris to secure green jersey
Tour de France jersey winners in pictures

Favourite for the London 2012 Olympic road race

It’s wildly presumptive to assume that because Cavendish won the London 2012 text event, he’ll claim Great Britain’s first gold medal of the Games next July. Sport is not that simple; least not cycling. The Olympic road race itself will be run over 250km course, including nine laps of Box Hill, while the test event was contested over just 140km, with two ascents of the Surrey climb, and teams will be limited to a maximum of five riders, while back in July Cavendish effectively had two teams – Great Britain and England – working for him.

London 2012 is a symbolic moment for cycling in Great Britain, however. Having won the London-Surrey Cycle Classic, Cavendish was plastered across the front page of several national newspapers. Not because the race was of any standing in it’s own regard, but because Great Britain have a ready-made gold medallist in Cavendish – and Britons love that.

Related reading
Race report – Mark Cavendish wins London 2012 test event
Olympic road race will be contested ‘like a Classic’

Great Britain’s first male world road race champion since Tom Simpson in 1965

British Cycling’s heirachy, headed on this occasion by Cavendish’s mentor Rod Ellingworth, pinpointed 2011 as their chance to crown a world champion from the moment the Danish capital was announced as host. Three years of planning boiled down to one sprint in Copenhagen and Cavendish duly delivered. But what unwinded in the 266.8km before that unfathomable burst of power was a savage sporting performance which saw one team, Great Britain, grab the race by the scruff and dominate from the first pedal stroke.

Tom Simpson is the only other British cyclist to have won the world title, in 1965, and he went on to win Sports Personality in the same year. With a green and rainbow jersey already secured, the broadcaster’s award may seem small fry, but it would serve as public reward for a remarkable year and a cyclist at the pinnacle of his sport.

Related reading
Race report – Mark Cavendish crowned world champion in Copenhagen
Comment: Victory for Mark Cavendish caps historic week for British cycling

What’s your favourite Mark Cavendish memory of 2011? Tell us on the forum.

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.