Mark Cavendish has won the BBC Sports Personality of the year award for 2011, becoming just the third cyclist to win the award after Tom Simpson in the 1960s and Sir Chris Hoy in 2008. Cyclingnews takes a look back at the Manxman's incredible year, with the top five moments of his season.
24 July: Taking the green jersey at the Tour de France
After a relatively slow start to the season by his standards, Cavendish powered to victory in five stages of the 2011 Tour de France, becoming the first British rider to claim the coveted green jersey as the winner of the overall points classification. He did so despite incurring penalties and being docked points after stage 18 and stage 19, and finished in his now customary blaze of glory in the centre of Paris - writing himself into the history books as the first rider to win the Tour's iconic final stage for three consecutive years.
14 August: Winning the 2012 Olympics test event
Just three weeks after his exploits at the Tour, Cavendish delighted his home fans by winning the much-publicised 2012 Olympic road race test event on the roads of Surrey and London. In typical style he emerged from a large pack will a well-timed burst to complete the 87-mile course in just over three-and-a-quarter hours, the perfect dress rehearsal for his assault on gold next year. "The crowd were incredible the whole way," he told BBC Sport afterwards. "You can't get a sense of how the 2012 race will go, but you can get a feel for this course and the route is good."
25 September: Road World Champion in Copenhagen
In arguably his most thrilling performance of the year, Cavendish became the first British rider for 46 years to win the Road World Championships. He rounded off an astonishing display of co-ordinated teamwork and selfless pace-setting by his seven Team GB colleagues to deliver a devastating finish and pip Australia's Matthew Goss almost on the finish line and bag the famous rainbow jersey. The dramatic race was witnessed on television by millions back home, and by now Cavendish's profile in Great Britain was approaching the stratosphere.
11 October: Signing for Team Sky
After months of speculation, it was finally confirmed that Cavendish would be 'coming home' to join British outfit Team Sky next season, after his previous team, HTC Highroad, folded. Cavendish signed a big money deal to join fellow British stars Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas under the guidance of Team GB and Team Sky boss David Brailsford. It was a move that captured the imagination of British cycling fans everywhere. "Mark is the greatest sprinter of his generation and is well on his way to becoming the greatest of all time," Brailsford said. "He is a rider of exceptional talent who has proved his pedigree at the very highest level of our sport."
1 December: Picking up his MBE from The Queen
Of all the memorable moments from 2011, it is probably a decent bet that collecting his MBE for services to British cycling from The Queen in December would be the one that Cavendish will remember most. Watched by his pregnant girlfriend and proud members of his family, Cavendish picked up the honour, which had been bestowed on him in The Queen's Birthday Honours List back in June, at Buckingham Palace. It was a fitting footnote to a history-making year.
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Mark joined the Cyclingnews team in October 2011 and has a strong background in journalism across numerous sports. His interest in cycling dates back to Greg LeMond's victories in the 1989 and 1990 Tours, and he has a self-confessed obsession with the career and life of Fausto Coppi.
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