Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018.
The Team Sky rider, 32, became only the third Briton to win the race, after Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
“I take great pride in representing Britain and Wales,” he said on Sunday. “It has been a great year for British sport and long may it continue.”
In a public vote, Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton finished second while footballer Harry Kane was third.
Thomas – who was presented with his award by 2017 winner Sir Mo Farah – is the first Welshman to win Sports Personality since footballer Ryan Giggs in 2009.
“I really should have thought about what I was going to say,” a shocked Thomas said.
“I feel very lucky to have come into cycling when I did. I just went down to the local leisure centre for a swim and instead I rode my bike.
“As a bike rider, I always focus on myself. Obviously people want me to win, but hearing stories like Tyson [Fury]’s and Billy [Monger]’s, you realise that what we do does inspire people back home.
“To see people on their bikes and enjoying it, you take just as much pride from that as winning something like this.”
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The award comes after Thomas was named BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018 earlier this month.
His victories in the public votes are recognition for his success on two wheels. Between 2007 and 2012, he won two Olympic and three world team pursuit titles on the track.
His Tour de France victory came in his ninth appearance – one fewer than the record for most appearances before winning.
He won two stages of the Tour, including stage 12, which included the famous Alpe d’Huez climb, and wore the Yellow Jersey for the final 11 stages.
Thomas was the first Welshman to win the Tour and it was the sixth time in seven years a Brit had won.
In 2018, Hamilton won his fifth F1 World Championship title, while World Cup Golden Boot winner Kane captained England to the semi-finals in Russia.
“I’m really proud to be in the top three and hopefully in the years to come I can try and win it,” Tottenham striker Kane told BBC Sport.
“When you’re in a team sport, you have to bring the nation together and as an England team we did that, which was amazing.”
Sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, England cricketer Jimmy Anderson and skeleton’s Lizzy Yarnold were also shortlisted for the main award.
Reaction to Thomas’ win
Other award winners at Sports Personality 2018
- Helen Rollason Award: Billy Monger
- Young Sports Personality of the Year: Kare Adenegan
- Lifetime Achievement: Billie Jean King
- Coach of the Year: Gareth Southgate
- Team of the Year: England Netball
- World Sport Star: Francesco Molinari
- Greatest Sporting Moment: England’s historic Commonwealth Games netball gold
- Unsung Hero – Kirsty Ewen
A memorable night in Birmingham
Pop star Paloma Faith opened the show at the Genting Arena with a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s Respect before hosts Gabby Logan, Clare Balding and Gary Lineker welcomed the six contenders onto the stage to the sound of This Is Me from the Greatest Showman.
Special guests in the sell-out crowd included some of the divers who rescued the Wild Boars football team from a flooded cave in Thailand, as well as Vera Cohen, 102, and her sister Olga Halon, 97, who were Manchester City mascots in September.
There were lumps in throats when teenage racing driver Billy Monger received the Helen Rollason Award and was joined on stage by the doctors and race marshals who saved his life following a Formula 4 crash at Donington Park in 2017.
The crowd also reminisced about a remarkable summer when Baddiel and Skinner reunited with The Lightning Seeds to perform Three Lions, which broke chart records during England’s World Cup semi-final run.
And there were other lighter moments, including a topless Mark Williams filmed in a caravan, football legend David Ginola talking golf, and George Ezra dressing as Gareth Southgate to close the show with a performance of Paradise.
The previous five SPOTY winners
- 2013 Sir Andy Murray
- 2014 Lewis Hamilton
- 2015 Sir Andy Murray
- 2016 Sir Andy Murray
- 2017 Sir Mo Farah
- See all the past winners