Geraint Thomas named as cycling’s athlete of the year by British Olympic Association
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Geraint Thomas named as cycling’s athlete of the year by British Olympic Association

by Ben Atkins at 11:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Olympics
 
Welsh rider “shocked to receive this award” after a massive year for British cycling

geraint thomasThe British Olympic Association (BOA) has awarded Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) the 2011 Olympic Athlete of the Year trophy for cycling. The award, which was introduced in 2005 to mark the centenary of the BOA and the awarding of the 2012 Games to London, is awarded to the top performing athlete in each of the 33 summer and winter Olympic sports.

“British sportsmen and women have produced some truly outstanding performances throughout 2011, winning no less than 50 medals in Olympic disciplines at World Championships,” said Andy Hunt, Team GB Chef de Mission and BOA Chief Executive. “While traditionally strong sports such as rowing, sailing and cycling have continued to deliver world leading results, it was exciting to see our boxing, triathlon and taekwondo squads achieve their best ever medal hauls in 2011.”

British cycling enjoyed one of its best year’s ever, with victories and results from a number of different riders, and finished the season fifth in the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour rankings. Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins became the first British men to make the podium of a Grand Tour since Robert Millar in 1987, with second and third respectively in the Vuelta a España, while Mark Cavendish took, what is becoming his usual five-stage haul at the Tour de France and at last captured the green points jersey.

The season was capped superbly by the Great Britain team dominating the World championship road race, with Cavendish taking the first elite men’s rainbow jersey since 1965. The green and rainbow jerseys have been enough to make the Manxman the overwhelming favourite for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award, the most prestigious award in British sport.

It was Thomas though, who got the nod from the BOA, with the 25-year-old enjoying his best ever season; he finally took his first road victory as a professional, in May’s Bayern-Rundfahrt, then rode an attacking Tour de France, before playing a big part in Cavendish’s World championship victory.

“If I am honest, it's a massive shock to receive this great award!” he exclaimed on hearing the news. “But it is also a massive honour. The way cycling is at the minute makes this an even greater achievement. It is really nice to get some recognition for all the dedication and hard work that we put in day in day out."

Award winners from other sports include World 5000m champion track and field athlete Mo Farah, and tennis star Andy Murray, both of whom are rivals to Cavendish for the SPOTY award.

The previous two recipients of the BOA athlete of the year for cycling were Emma Pooley in 2010, and Lizzie Armitstead in 2009.

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