Bradley Wiggins has been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The 32-year-old received the award tonight in front of an estimated audience of 15,000 people at London’s Excel Centre.
Jessica Ennis was second, while Andy Murray was third. Team GB and Paralympics GB won the team award, while Dave Brailsford picked up the award for best coach.
He said: “I will say thank you to everyone who voted. We have had all that jungle stuff and X-Factor the last few weeks, so for people to pick up the phone and vote in half an hour, thank you very much.
“What a year, 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 David Brailsford, the coaches, British Cycling, Team Sky and all the Olympians. There is a free bar round the back paid for by the BBC, so we are all going round there tonight!”
He succeeds his former teammate, Mark Cavendish, as the nation’s favourite sporting personality.
Wiggins’ season was one of control and focus; riding to win in each of a carefully selected programme of races.
Victory came as early as February, when he won the final stage time trial at the Volta ao Algarve after riding in support of teammate and overall winner, Richie Porte; the young Australian who would repay his debt with sterling service in the Tour de France.
Wiggins’ secured arguably the biggest win of his road career the following month with overall victory at Paris-Nice. The 32-year-old sealed victory in emphatic style by winning the final stage time trial on the Col d’Eze.
A slight derailment occurred later the same month at the Volta a Catalunya, when Wiggins was forced off his bike by heavy snow on stage three.
Business as usual was resumed in April at the Tour de Romandie, with overall victory for Wiggins, but his triumph was achieved with two interesting additions: the first, a sprint victory to take stage one; the second, the service of Mark Cavendish, whose early season efforts for Wiggins here would be replicated selflessly in July.
Still more significantly, Wiggins’ overall victory came at the expense of defending champion, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing); the first of two occasions in 2012 on which this succession would occur.
Wiggins did not race in May, but returned to competitive action in early June to defend his title in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He accomplished his mission in a style to which fans and rivals were now becoming accustomed: with dominance in the time trials and the strength to control affairs in the mountains.
By July, the stage was set for Wiggins fourth sustained assault in as many years on the biggest prize in cycling: the Tour de France.
He opened his campaign by finishing second to Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) in the prologue time trial.
On stage seven, he assumed the leader’s yellow jersey, after finishing third behind team-mate, Chris Froome, on the mountainous 199km route from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles.
Two stages later, he extended his lead with the first of two stage wins, finishing first on the 41.5km time trial from Arc-et-Senans to Besançon, some 35 seconds faster than team-mate and closest challenger, Chris Froome.
It was a result that would be reproduced on the stage nineteen, from Bonnneval to Chartres, punctuated by Wiggins’ now famous punch of the air as he crossed the line, 1.16” ahead of Froome.
Just 10 days later, Wiggins’ found himself back on a time trial bike and back on the top step of the podium, this time after destroying his rivals, Froome and world time trial champion, Tony Martin among them, at the end of the men’s Olympic time trial.
The win was hugely significant and achieved under a massive weight of public expectation after Great Britain’s much fancied men’s team had failed to win the Olympic road race with Mark Cavendish.
The shortlist for the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year was widely regarded as the most competitive in its history
Six-time gold medalist, Sir Chris Hoy, winner in 2008, and Britain’s most successful Olympian, led a host of sportsmen and women who had triumphed at London 2012.
Boxer, Nicola Adams, sailor, Ben Ainslie, heptathlete, Ennis, runner, Mo Farah, rower, Katherine Grainger, tennis player, Murray, Parlaympic cyclist, Sarah Storey, Paralympic swimmer, Ellie Simmonds, and Paralympic hand cyclist, David Weir, were also nominated.
Golfer, Rory McIlroy, was the only nominee who had not competed at the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
1) Bradley Wiggins 492,064 (30.25%)
2) Jessica Ennis 372,765 (22.92%)
3) Andy Murray 230,444 (14.17%)
4) Mo Farah 131,327 (8.07%)
5) David Weir 114,633 (7.05%)
6) Ellie Simmonds 102,894 (6.33%)
7) Sir Chris Hoy 42,961 (2.64%)
8) Nicola Adams 35,560 (2.19%)
9) Ben Ainslie 35,373 (2.17%)
10) Rory McIlroy 29,729 (1.83%)
11) Katherine Grainger 28,626 (1.76%)
12) Sarah Storey 10,342 (0.64%)
Total votes: 1,626,718