Which cyclists will be on the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist?

Cyclists have been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year in the last two Olympic years, so who could follow suit in 2016?

With the year drawing to a close, the nominees for the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award will soon be announced, and after a stunning year of British sporting success just predicting who will make the shortlist is no easy task.

Britain’s cyclists alone could fill the shortlist, after a year which brought Tour de France victory; 12 Olympic medals – six of which were gold; 21 Paralympic medals – including 12 gold; and World Championship success on both track and road.

And that’s before you consider the candidates from across the British sporting spectrum from bookies’ favourite Andy Murray to Mo Farah, swimmer Adam Peaty and Welsh footballer Gareth Bale.

British cyclists have enjoyed another brilliant Olympic year (pic: Sirotti)

Cycling accounted for three nominees in 2012, the last Olympic year, and four in 2008 after the unprecedented success at the Beijing Games and there are plenty in with a good shout of being nominated this time out.

Nominees are drawn up by an expert panel, introduced in 2012 to replace the previous panel of 30 sports journalists, which considers sporting achievements on a national and/or international level and the ‘impact’ of such success both on the individual sport and the wider sporting world.

So, with that in mind, we’ve picked out ten cyclists who could all stake a claim to be deserving of a nomination, before the winner is picked by public vote on Sunday December 18.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome enjoyed another stellar year on the road, winning his third Tour de France in four years when he stormed to the yellow jersey in the summer.

Froome, 31, has been nominated twice before – after his two previous Tour victories in 2013 and 2015, and the Kenyan-born Brit will fancy his chances of being on the shortlist again.

Chris Froome won his third Tour de France title in July (pic: Sirotti)

His Tour victory was the stand-out moment, but Froome also won two stages on his way to second place overall at the Vuelta a Espana, won the Criterium du Dauphine for a third time, and claimed time trial bronze at Rio 2016.

So driven was he for success at the Tour, he even resorted to running – in his cleats – part of the way up Mont Ventoux after a crash caused by roadside spectators blocking the TV moto.

Froome’s successes took his career tally to seven Grand Tour podium finishes while only Mark Cavendish and Chris Boardman now have more professional wins than Froome, after the Team Sky man took his career tally to 38.

2016 highlight: Froome stormed to victory at the Tour de France in July, repeatedly catching his rivals out with a great tactical ride. His ungainly but super-effective descent on the Col de Peyresourde, which earned him stage eight victory and the yellow jersey for the first time, epitomised those efforts.

SPOTY history: Nominated in 2013 and 2015, sixth both times

Odds: 100/1

Jason Kenny

Jason Kenny became Britain’s joint-most successful Olympian of all time at the Rio 2016 Games, winning three gold medals to take his career tally to six.

Kenny rode as man three as the Brits defended their team sprint title – despite being starved for success in the run-up to Rio – before adding the individual sprint and then a dramatic keirin to his tally.

Jason Kenny moved level with Sir Chris Hoy on six Olympic gold medals (pic: Sirotti)

Former team-mate Sir Chris Hoy is the only other British Olympian to win six gold medals in his career, and Kenny’s triple made him only the third Brit – after Hoy and pre-war swimmer Henry Taylor – to win three at the same Games.

Add to that the individual sprint world title Kenny won back in February and it has been quite the year, which ended on a high on a personal level too when he married fellow multiple gold medal winner Laura Trott.

The three other Brits to win five Olympic gold medals or more – Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Steve Redgrave – are all former SPOTY winners, and knights of the realm. You would expect at least one of those to be heading Kenny’s way this winter.

2016 highlight: A dramatic keirin race, which twice had to be restarted after false starts, saw Kenny come from behind on the final lap to claim his record-equalling sixth Olympic gold medal, and close what had been an incredible week in the velodrome for Britain’s cyclists.

SPOTY history: No previous nominations

Odds: 66/1

Laura Kenny

Laura Trott shot to fame as a 20-year-old in 2012 after winning two golds on the track at London 2012 and the Essex-born rider repeated the feat at Rio 2016 to become Britain’s most successful ever female Olympian.

Not only that, she is also the most successful female track cyclist in Olympic history and, still aged just 24, she has time to stretch that record even further.

Laura Kenny (prev. Trott) is now Britain’s most successful female Olympian (pic: Alex Whitehead/

Trott also won two world titles back in February, taking her career tally to seven after victories in the omnium and scratch race, accompanied by a team pursuit bronze medal.

It’s not just Trott’s victories which have been impressive either, but the manner of them – the 24-year-old won three of the first five events in the six-event Olympic omnium and finished second in the other two to leave her well-placed to defend her lead in the final points race.

Unlucky not to be nominated after her 2012 success, Trott – now Laura Kenny, after marrying fellow multiple gold medallist Jason in September – is surely a shoo-in for a place on the shortlist this time out.

2016 highlight: Kenny went into both her Olympic events – team pursuit and omnium – as defending champion, and rose to the occasion in style. Prior to Rio 2016, no British woman had ever claimed three gold medals. Following her dominant omnium success, Laura Kenny has four.

SPOTY history: No previous nominations.

Odds: 14/1

Lizzie Deignan

Lizzie Armitstead rose to the pressure of racing in the rainbow jersey of world road race champion in some style in 2016.

The Yorkshirewoman bagged seven victories, including three in her first four races as world champion – the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strada Bianche and Trofeo Alfredo Binda one-day races.

Lizzie Deignan (prev. Armitstead) enjoyed a stellar year on the road in the rainbow jersey of world champion (pic: RCS Sport)

She took that momentum onto the Ladies Tour of Flanders, where she became the second British woman – after Nicole Cooke – to win the iconic cobbled Classic.

More one-day success followed, at the Boels Rental Hills Classic, before she became the first Brit to win the Aviva Women’s Tour.

Controversy after three anti-doping whereabouts failures – the first of which was later scratched from her record, meaning she escaped a ban – halted her momentum, but after fifth place at the Olympic Games she came back strong to help Boels-Dolmans win world team time trial gold in her first race as Lizzie Deignan, following her marriage to Team Sky rider Philip.

2016 highlight: Deignan’s spring campaign was built around the Tour of Flanders, and the Yorkshirewoman delivered a great tactical to ride to win the cobbled Classic. Escaping with Emma Johansson on Oude Kwaremont, the Yorkshirewoman outsprinted the Swede to claim victory.

SPOTY history: Nominated in 2015, finished tenth.

Mark Cavendish

When Mark Cavendish outlined his three-fold target for the 2016 season – a day in the Tour de France yellow jersey, an Olympic medal and World Championship gold in Qatar – few expected him to fulfil it.

And yet the Manxman confounded the critics who had previously claimed in was in decline, and only narrowly missed out on all three targets – being beaten into second by Peter Sagan in the world road race.

Mark Cavendish pulled on the yellow jersey for the first time in his career and won his first Olympic medal in 2016 (Pic: Simon Wilkinson/

But not even his fiercest critics – of which Cavendish is one – could call his season a failure as a result, after a fine season.

Victory on the opening stage of the Tour de France, which earned him a day as race leader, only tells part of the story as he went on to win four stages in all and move up to second in the all-time list.

At the Rio 2016 Games, he responded to those who criticised his selection by winning omnium silver – his first ever Olympic medal – and then took silver in Qatar, having been boxed in during the final sprint.

In addition, Cavendish teamed up with Sir Bradley Wiggins to win world Madison gold in London in February, and completed his season by teaming up with Wiggins again to win the prestigious Ghent Six, in the rainbow jerseys.

Cavendish finished the season with ten wins on the road in all, in addition to his track success. Had he turned those silver medals into golds, he would have been a big favourite for a second SPOTY title, but as it is he has still had an incredible season.

2016 highlight: Having worn the leader’s jersey at both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, won the points classification at all three Grand Tours and been both national and world champion, Cavendish completed his jersey collection with victory on stage one of the Tour de France to finally pull on the yellow jersey for the first time.

SPOTY history: Nominated in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Cavendish became the third cyclist to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award after topping the poll in the latter.

Odds: 200/1

Dame Sarah Storey

After British Cycling’s Olympians lit up the Rio 2016 Velodrome, Dame Sarah Storey picked up where they had left off when the Rio 2016 Paralympics began.

On the first night of track cycling, Storey, 38 and at her seventh Olympic Games, smashed her own world record in the C5 3,000m individual pursuit heats before claiming the 12th Paralympic gold medal of her career – becoming Britain’s most-decorated female Paralympian in the process.

Dame Sarah Storey has now won more gold medals than any other British female Paralympian (pic: Alex Whitehead/

She won two more, winning both the C5 time trial and C4-5 road race, before the Games were up to take her career tally to 25 Paralympic medals, 14 of which have been gold.

Like the woman she overtook in the all-time ranking – Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson – Dame Sarah has become synonymous with the Paralympic Games and disability sport during a phenomenal career as first a swimmer and then a cyclist.

2016 highlight: The velodrome had been home to plenty of British success at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and Dame Sarah ensured the tone was set for more success to follow at the Paralympics on the opening night. Having smashed her own world record in qualifying, Storey then went on to win her 12th Paralympic gold medal – more than any other British woman before her.

SPOTY history: Nominated in 2012, finished 12th.

Odds: 150/1

Kadeena Cox

Kadeena Cox’s Paralympic success was not limited to her performances on the bike – the 25-year-old also won a medal of each colour on the athletics track too.

Coupled with her C4-5 500m time trial gold medal in the velodrome, Cox’s success in the T38 400m made her the first British para-athlete to win golds in multiple sports at the same Paralympic Games since Isabel Barr, 32 years earlier.

Kadeena Cox won Paralympic gold medals in both cycling and athletics, just two years after being diagnosed with MS (pic – Alex Whitehead/

Cox’s story is the all the more remarkable when you consider she was only diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2014, after suffering two suspected strokes.

She entered her first British National Track Championships on the bike in September 2015, and within 11 months was a Paralympic champion – and world record holder after stopping the clock in 34.598 seconds.

2016 highlight: Already a bronze medallist on the athletics track, Cox went into the C4-5 500m time trial on the bike as world champion and with the ringing endorsement of Dame Sarah Storey. And she coped with the expectation perfectly, storming to victory in world record time to ensure she became the first Brit to win Paralympic medals in different sports at the same Games since Barr in 1988. In winning gold on the athletics track later in the Games, Cox matched shooter/sprinter/athlete Barr’s 1984 achievement of golds in two different sports at the same Games.

SPOTY history: No previous nominations

Sir Bradley Wiggins

Sir Bradley Wiggins won his eighth Olympic medal – more than any Brit has ever previously managed – at Rio 2016, as the British men’s quartet stormed to team pursuit gold.

It crowned a great comeback to the track for Wiggins, as he lined up with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Owain Doull to beat the world record twice on their way to victory.

Sir Bradley Wiggins celebrates his fifth Olympic gold medal, and British record-breaking eighth medal in all (pic: Alex Whitehead/

In a thrilling final, the quartet came from behind with just two laps remaining to beat Australia and set a new world record of 3.50.265.

Having smashed the UCI Hour Record in 2015, Wiggins’ record-breaking eighth Olympic medal marked another high point in a brilliant career on track and road.

And – having started the year by winning Madison gold with Mark Cavedish at the UCI Track World Championships – he wasn’t done there as the two paired up to win the prestigious Ghent Six Day.

Wiggins and Cavendish’s victory in Ghent made the former only the second Brit, after Tony Doyle, to twice win the event.

2016 highlight: Wiggins’ return to the track had been one of the big talking points as the Rio 2016 Games approached, with the team pursuit team seemingly reinvigorated by the presence of the seven-time Olympic medallist. And the 36-year-old’s eighth Olympic medal, a British record, is the perfect way to sign off his career.

SPOTY history: Nominated in 2008 and 2012, Wiggins was the most recent cyclist to top the poll when he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award four years ago.

Odds: 200/1

Ed Clancy

Wiggins was not the only one of the British team pursuit quartet smashing records at Rio 2016 as Ed Clancy won his third consecutive team pursuit gold.

No cyclist has ever done that before at the Olympic Games, and that Clancy did it after a potentially career-ending back injury makes it an even more remarkable achievement.

Ed Clancy became the first ever cyclist to win team pursuit gold at three back-to-back Olympic Games (pic: Alex Whitehead/

A prolapsed disc in his back, suffered in September 2015, less than a year before the Games, left him unable to even walk, let alone ride his bike.

But the Yorkshireman’s recovery was incredible – not only did he manage to get back on the bike, but he did so in time for the UCI Track World Championships.

His unexpectedly swift recovery provided another fillip to the British quartet as they claimed silver, before Clancy played a leading role in going one better – in world record time – at Rio 2016.

2016 highlight: Having seen his place at Rio 2016 jeopardised by the back injury he suffered at the end of 2015, Clancy not only recovered in super-quick time but went on to play a leading role as the British team pursuit quartet won gold for a third consecutive year. Clancy has been in the team for all three of those successes – the first cyclist of any nationality to win three on the bounce.

SPOTY history: No previous nominations

Becky James

Becky James won two silver medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but that doesn’t even tell half the story of her triumph against the odds.

The Welsh star had the world at her feet in 2013 when she won two gold medals at the UCI Track World Championships but a knee injury kept her off the bike for the best part of the next two years, and James also suffered a cervical cancer scare in that time.

Becky James returned from injury to win two Olympic silver medals (pic: Alex Whitehead/

She returned to training just 12 months out from Rio but made quick progress, winning keirin bronze earlier this year at the UCI Road World Championships.

And in Rio, the 24-year-old Abergavenny ace went on to claim her first two Olympic medals, to reaffirm her place as Britain’s next female sprinting star on the track.

2016 highlight: Though she was ultimately narrowly beaten to gold by Germany’s Kristina Vogel, James run through to the final of the individual sprint at Rio 2016 was a reminder of why she was revered as the natural replacement for Victoria Pendleton post-London 2012.

SPOTY history: No previous nominations


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