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I’m a cyclist…so do I have to vote #CAV4SPOTY?

| Blog, Cycling Plus | 02/12/2011 12:16pm

This year’s shortlist for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award has caused Jeremy Clarkson levels of controversy for not including deserving female champions like Chrissie Wellington and Sarah Stevenson, but at least cyclists will all be voting for Mark Cavendish…That seems to be the theory anyway. Voting for SPOTY takes place on December 22 but as soon as the shortlist was announced the #CAV4SPOTY campaign thundered into motion on Twitter with cyclists, cycling fans and even organising bodies adding the ‘hashtag’ to their tweets. British Cycling even has a #CAV4SPOTY countdown, with downloadable Manx Missile masks on its website.

#CAV4SPOTY (©Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s all great fun and Mark himself is grateful and tweeted “MASSIVE thank you to everyone who’s tweeting #cav4spoty. I feel very loved.” But I have a large ‘but’ that some of you will no doubt think makes me sound, at best,  like a right miserable sod and at worst a dirty, rotten traitor – I might not vote for ‘our’ Mark.

First up I kind of object to the notion that because I’m a cyclist and cycling fan I should, therefore automatically vote for a cyclist. There can be no doubt Cav would be a more than worthy winner – the Green jersey at the Tour de France and the World Road Race Championship are incredible achievements but, controversial I know, cycling and cyclists aren’t the be all and end all…

It’s time to declare an interest of course. Before I became a cyclist, I was a runner and before I edited Britain’s best selling cycling magazine I deputy edited a rather large running title. I’m still a runner AND a cyclist but that means I have a more than passing interest in athletics. For my money and based on performances SPOTY should be a two-horse race between Cav and Mo Farah the World 5000m champion and 10,000m silver medalist. And were I to vote then I’d be sorely tempted to go with Mo.

#MO4SPOTY (© Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Why? Well while British cycling – both men’s and women’s – has enjoyed rude health over the past few years the same definitely can’t be said of British distance running. Other than marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe UK Athletics, unlike British Cycling, has had few world beating long distance runners at it’s disposal for, well, decades… Before Mo, the last – actually only –  British man to win a medal in a long distance race at the World Championship was Jack Buckner with a bronze in the 5000m in 1987. In fact, such has been the drought of truly world class distance runners in the UK since the 1980s that when Farah set a new 5000m British record in 2010 he broke a mark set way back in 1982 by David Moorcroft!

And let’s not forget the Beeb’s award doesn’t just have ‘sport’ in the title. Both Mark and Mo are actually individuals who go against that old oxymoron ‘sports personality’. Cav wears his heart on his sleeve, gives great interview, has worked like a Trojan and made huge sacrifices (and the odd two fingered salute) on his way to the top. Farah doesn’t have that running/cycling sprinters ‘arrogance/confidence’ but is a bubbly, talkative and hugely likeable bloke. But like Cav he’s a driven individual – much of his success comes down to his decision early in 2011 to split from his long time coach Alan Storey and move his family to Oregon in the United States to team up with distance running legend Alberto Salazar. See he’s pretty good…

So, what do I do? Do I vote Cav? Do I vote Mo? Or do I abstain? Does it matter? Darren Clarke will win it anyway…

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 2nd, 2011 at 12:16 pm and is filed under Blog, Cycling Plus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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