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Chief Minister backs Cavendish for BBC Sports Award 19 December 2011

CHIEF Minister Allan Bell MHK has urged the Manx public to get behind Mark Cavendish in the contest to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2011.

The 26-year-old Laxey cyclist is on a shortlist of 10 for the prestigious award which will be decided by a telephone vote during Thursday night’s (December 22) live show. He faces competition from other leading sports stars including US Open golf champion Rory McIlroy, British Open golf champion Darren Clarke, and England cricket captain Andrew Strauss.

Cavendish enjoyed a phenomenal year in 2011, becoming first British winner of the Tour de France green jersey, awarded to the event’s top sprinter, and Britain’s first road race world champion since 1965. The ‘Manx Missile’, already the most successful British cyclist of all time, is currently the bookmakers’ favourite to scoop the coveted BBC award.

Rallying local support ahead of next Thursday’s show, the Chief Minister said:

‘With his magnificent achievements over the past 12 months, Mark continues to be an inspiration to our young sportsmen and women and his success has helped to raise awareness of the Isle of Man across the world. I hope he can add to his list of accomplishments by winning BBC award, as it would be a fitting finale to a truly exceptional year. I would urge as many people as possible to vote for him on the night.’

The 10 nominees for the main award will be put to a public vote during the BBC1 show, which will be broadcast live from 8pm at Media City UK, Salford Quays. The telephone number to call to register a vote for Cavendish will be revealed on the night and repeated throughout the programme by presenters Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Jake Humphrey.

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