World road race champion and most successful British Tour de France rider Mark Cavendish beat distance runner Mo Farah and golfer Rory McIlroy to win the Sportsman of the Year award from the Sports Journalists' Association (SJA) on Wednesday.
Cavendish topped a poll of more than 800 sports writers, who also named Rebecca Adlington, the 800 metres freestyle World swimming champion, as Sportswoman of the Year.
Cavendish's achievements on the road were recognised after he won the green jersey for best sprinter at the Tour de France in July, when he also won five stages to take his career tally in the race to 20.
He also became Britain's first male road World Champion since 1965 when he triumphed in Copenhagen in September.
"We've established Britain as the dominant force in world cycling," Cavendish said after his victory in Denmark.
Farah, who took the 5,000 world title after agonisingly missing out on the 10,000 gold in Daegu, finished second, with US Open winner McIlroy third in the poll that has been in existence since 1949.
World champion triathlete Helen Jenkins and jockey Hayley Turner finished second and third in the women's poll behind Adlington.
The 22-year-old added the 800 metres world title to her 400/800 Olympic double at the Beijing Olympics.
Adlington's award will go some way to making up for her absence from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award shortlist which contained 10 men and no women.
Ironman triathlete Chrissie Wellington failed to make either short list, but a year that included winning the Hawaii world title for the fourth time and also beating her own Iron distance world record at Roth, Germany, earned her the Pat Besford Award for Outstanding Performance.
Taekwondo World Champion Sarah Stevenson won the SJA Committee Award
England's cricketers, who rose to No. 1 in the world Test rankings and retained the Ashes by defeating Australia, were the runaway winners of the team-of-the year award.