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Geraint Thomas beats Lewis Hamilton and Harry Kane to BBC SPOTY crown

Geraint Thomas beats Lewis Hamilton and Harry Kane to BBC SPOTY crown
© Reuters
The Tour de France champion becomes the fourth cyclist to win the prize in the last decade.

Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, beating Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton into second place, with England captain Harry Kane third.

The Tottenham striker had been the pre-event favourite but Thomas was a close second with the bookmakers and the 32-year-old Welshman came out on top when it mattered.

He becomes the fifth cyclist to win the award – the fourth in the last decade – and the fifth athlete from Wales.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 – Live Show
Geraint Thomas poses with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy (David Davies/PA).

The victory was the perfect end to a day that started pretty well, too, when he was given a replacement Tour trophy on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch – the original was stolen three months ago.

In a break with BBC tradition, the nominees for the main SPOTY award were not revealed until the start of the programme, which was broadcast live from Birmingham's World Resorts Arena on BBC One.

Tyson Fury was the big omission on the six-strong list as he was the fourth favourite after his dramatic draw with Deontay Wilder earlier this month.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 – Arrivals
Tyson Fury did not make the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year (Anthony Devlin/PA).

That performance came after the 12-strong judging panel had met to decide the nominees but it did meet again to debate whether he should be added. They opted to leave him off the ballot paper but did put the fight in Los Angeles on the shortlist for the Greatest Sporting Moment of the Year award, a new competition decided by public vote.

The other three names to make the SPOTY shortlist were England bowler James Anderson, sprinter Dina Asher-Smith and two-time Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold.

But, in another change to the format, the BBC will not be revealing the total votes for each candidate.

And while Fury did not win either the main prize or the greatest moment, he did deliver the best speech of the night, telling presenter Gary Lineker that he should be "the WBC champion and everyone knows it!"

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 – Live Show
Billy Monger got a rousing reception (David Davies/PA).

Fury, who returned to the ring this year after what he described as "two terrible years" struggling with mental-health issues and a doping controversy, said his performance against Wilder sent a powerful message to anybody else who is fighting depression.

Asked if he would be fighting Anthony Joshua next year, he said he did not want to talk about boxing anymore this year and wished everyone a "great Christmas and a merry New Year".

The first prize given out went to Billy Monger, whose life changed forever when he had to have his legs amputated after a crash at Donington Park in 2017.

The 19-year-old, who returned to the motorsport this year and finished a remarkable third in his first British F3 race, received the Helen Rollason Award from his hero Hamilton.

Unfortunately, his speech was cut short by Clare Balding, although the BBC repaired the mistake later in the show by letting the inspirational Monger complete his 'thank yous'.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 – Live Show
Billie Jean King receives her award from Sue Barker (David Davies/PA).

American tennis great Billie Jean King was given the lifetime achievement by her friend, fellow tennis player and BBC presenter Sue Barker.

The 75-year-old, who won 39 grand slam titles, reminded the crowd of 10,000 at the Birmingham venue that she won her final professional title in the city in 1983.

Perhaps the least surprising winner was Gareth Southgate taking Coach of the Year following England's surprising run to the World Cup's last four.

The 48-year-old received his trophy from David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and Ian Broudie, who had teamed up earlier to serenade him with a rendition of "Three Lions", a song Southgate used to dislike because it reminded him of a his penalty miss at Euro 96.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 – Live Show
Gareth Southgate's efforts in 2018 did not go unrewarded (David Davies/PA).

Those days are behind him now and Skinner thanked the England boss "for all the royalties".

Italian golfer Francesco Molinari was the worthy winner of the overseas sports personality prize, which has been rebranded as World Sport Star of the Year and was decided by a global, online vote.

The Italian received his award from Tommy Fleetwood, with whom he formed a memorable partnership as Europe thrashed the United States at the Ryder Cup in Paris.

Molinari became the first European to win five out of five points in the team contest but also enjoyed remarkable solo success this season, winning twice on the US tour before becoming the first Italian to win a major with victory at the Open.

Team of the Year went to the England netball side for their last-second triumph over Australia at the Commonwealth Games in April. Their buzzer-beating victory also won the greatest moment prize.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 – Live Show
England's netball players won the Team of the Year Award (David Davies/PA).

Julie Harrington, Chief Executive Officer for British Cycling said: "What Geraint has achieved this year completely encapsulates what we are about – using success to inspire people to get out on their bikes.

"I'd like to offer my congratulations to Geraint on a brilliant year and thank him for his part in encouraging more people to cycle."

When asked by reporters if he should be drinking a beer while his Team Sky team-mates started pre-season training in Mallorca, Thomas said: "It's not every day you win Sports Personality of the Year."

Click here for more stories about Geraint Thomas

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