Bradley Wiggins' remarkable year came to a perfect conclusion as he was named winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in the city where he cruised to Olympic glory this summer.
Having clinched gold in the time trial at London 2012 just 10 days after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France, Wiggins was always the strong favourite to win the prestigious award at London's ExCeL Arena.
And the cyclist duly won the public vote, beating Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray into second and third places on an evening which paid tribute to Britain's Olympic stars.
The Duchess of Cambridge and David Beckham presented the top award.
The affable Wiggins, 32, has enjoyed the finest year of a glittering career, winning the Tour, Olympic gold, Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandy and the Criterium du Dauphine.Wiggins caused huge laughter in the auditorium when he referred to host Sue Barker as "Susan" during the opening stages of the ceremony, and again enthused the crowd with his acceptance speech.
To cheers of "Wiggo, Wiggo", the cyclist, beamingly proudly, said: "I am not going to swear tonight. I will just say thank you to every who rang up and voted.
"We have had all that jungle stuff and X Factor stuff in the last couple of weeks, so...
"For people who picked up and paid £1.50 to vote, thank you very much, and thanks to my nan. Your cheque's is in the post because I know you will have pressed redial so many times.
"What a year. To be standing on this stage with the likes of these people next to me is incredible."
Wiggins paid tribute to fellow riders plus the performance director and coach who have guided British cycling to a new high.
"I'd like to thank my team-mates, Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton," he said. I'd like to thank British Cycling and Sky for paying me."
Wiggins was born in Ghent, Belgium, but was raised in London with his mother Linda after she separated from Wiggins' father Gary, who was also a professional rider.
He went on to win several junior titles after learning to ride in and around London before taking up professional racing.
He won six world championships and three Olympic golds on the track under British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford's guidance, and then turned his attention to the road, where he provided London 2012 with one of its greatest moments.
With over 300,000 fans lining the route, Wiggins pedalled to glory on August 1 and then slumped in a grand throne in front of Hampton Court Palace with his medal around his neck.
His greatest achievement came earlier in the summer, however, when he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France in its 99-race history.British Cycling president Brian Cookson hailed the result, saying: "Bradley's win is a high point of what has been the greatest year in British Cycling's history.
"To win the Tour de France and gold in the Olympic time-trial in the same year is a feat that has anchored our sport in the mainstream of British life.
"The fact that three out of the 12 nominees this year are cyclists [Sir Chris Hoy and Sarah Storey were the others] is recognition of the hard work and dedication of not just our amazing athletes but of everyone who works in cycling.
"Dave Brailsford's win as Coach of the Year and BMX rider Quillan Isidore making it on to the short list for Young Sports Personality shows the success cycling has enjoyed across all disciplines.
"A cyclist has been crowned Sports Personality three times in the last five years, proving that cycling is the sport that has redefined our national sporting identity."
Wiggins was always the favourite to land the award after his exploits this summer, but bookmakers had slashed Ennis' odds by the start of the programme, suggesting the heptathlete was a major contender to win after her golden year.
Murray, who received his third-place award in Miami from Lennox Lewis, can count himself unlucky, having ended Britain's 76-year wait for a men's grand slam singles victory in September when he beat Novak Djokovic in the final of the US Open.
That win came just a month after he beat Roger Federer in the final of the men's singles at the Olympics, avenging the heart-breaking defeat the Swiss inflicted upon him in the Wimbledon title match in July.
But the final say of the night belonged to Wiggins, who rounded off by addressing the crowd with: "There's a free bar around the back that's paid for by the BBC so I hope you all go around there now."
The night became a glowing tribute to Britain's Olympic and Paralympic stars. Team GB and Paralympics GB, who won 65 and 120 medals respectively at London 2012, jointly claimed the Team of the Year award.
Brailsford was rewarded with the coaching award after overseeing Wiggins' Tour win and taking charge of the British cycling team at London 2012.
An emotional Lord Coe won the Lifetime Achievement award, for his role in securing and delivering the Games as well as his own stellar track career.
The fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt, claimed the Overseas Sports Personality of the Year trophy after winning the Olympic 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4x100 metres relay with Jamaica.
Fifteen-year-old South Shields swimmer Josef Craig was the first winner of the night, picking up the Young Sports Personality of the Year award for his victory in the S7 400 metres freestyle at the Paralympics at the age of just 15.
Martine Wright, who lost both her legs in the July 7 bombings, won the second prize of the night - the Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.
Wright, 40, competed in the sitting volleyball competition at London 2012 just seven years after being seriously injured during the deadly terrorist attack on London in 2005 at Aldgate station.
Fabrice Muamba, who suffered an on-pitch heart attack during Bolton's game at Tottenham in March, handed out the third award of the night to Sue and Jim Houghton, who won the Unsung Hero honour having spent 25 years converting a derelict field into a thriving community sports centre in Desford, Leicestershire.
Bradley Wiggins factfile
1980: Born April 28 in Ghent, Belgium before growing up in London. Son of Australian former racing cyclist Gary Wiggins.
1992: Begins track cycling at Herne Hill Velodrome, London.
1997: Wins individual pursuit gold at Junior World Track Championships in Cuba.
2000: March - Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester.
October - Bronze in team pursuit at Olympic Games in Sydney.
2001: September - Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.
2002: July - Silver for England in team pursuit and individual pursuit at Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Gold in individual pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
2003: August - Silver in team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
September - Wins opening stage of Tour de l'Avenir.
2004: August - Olympic gold in individual pursuit at Athens Olympics. Also wins silver in team pursuit alongside Steve Cummings, Paul Manning and Rob Hayles and bronze in Madison alongside Rob Hayles to become first Briton since 1964 to win three medals at one Games.
2005: September - Wins stage eight of Tour de l'Avenir.
2006: July - Makes Tour de France debut, riding for French team Cofidis.
2007: March - Wins gold in the individual pursuit and team pursuit at Track Cycling World Championships in Palma, Majorca.
June - Prologue victory in Dauphine Libere.
July - Finishes fourth in Tour de France prologue in London behind Swiss winner Fabian Cancellara but his team, Cofidis, later withdraw after team-mate Cristian Moreni fails a drugs test.
2008: January - Wiggins' estranged father, Gary Wiggins, is discovered unconscious in New South Wales and later dies.
March - Wins individual pursuit, team pursuit and Madison gold at Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester.
August 16 - Successfully defends Olympic individual pursuit title with gold at the Laoshan Velodrome.
August 18 - Olympic team pursuit gold alongside Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Paul Manning in a world record of three minutes 53.314 seconds.
August 19 - Favourite for Olympic Madison alongside Mark Cavendish but ninth-placed finish results in Manxman suffering the ignominy of being the only member of GB's track team to leave the Laoshan Velodrome without a medal and has a public falling-out with Wiggins.
October - Releases autobiography titled 'In Pursuit of Glory' detailing his struggle with alcohol after Athens Games.
2009: July - Secures fourth place in Tour de France, matching highest-ever placing by a British rider.
September - Wins British Time-Trial Championship.
October - Wins stage five time-trial and overall title at Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia.
December 10 - Signs four-year deal with Team Sky, the BSkyB-backed road team which is being led by British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford.
2010: February 7 - Makes Team Sky debut at Tour of Qatar, helping squad to victory in the race's opening team time-trial.
March - Finishes third overall in the Tour of Murcia.
May - Wins Giro d'Italia prologue to become second Briton to wear race leader's pink jersey, the maglia rosa. The victory gives Team Sky a Grand Tour stage win at the first attempt.
July - Finishes 24th on Team Sky's Tour de France debut, upgraded to 23rd after Alberto Contador is stripped of the title for a doping offence.
2011: March - Finishes third overall in Paris-Nice stage race.
May - Wins fourth stage of Bayern-Rundfahrt as team-mate Geraint Thomas wins overall.
June - Wins traditional Tour de France warm-up Criterium du Dauphine. Wins British Championships road race.
July 8 - Abandons Tour de France after fracturing collarbone in crash on seventh stage. Wiggins was sixth overall, 10 seconds behind race leader Thor Hushovd, entering the stage.
September - Finishes third overall at the Vuelta a Espana, with Team Sky colleague Chris Froome second. Finishes second in World Championships time-trial before helping Cavendish win the road race.
2012: February: Wins stage five of Volta ao Algarve.
March - Wins Paris-Nice overall, completing victory with win on stage eight.
April - Triumphs in Tour de Romandie, winning stages one and five.
June - Successfully defends his Criterium du Dauphine title and wins stage four time-trial for an unprecedented series of results.
July 7 - Takes the Tour de France yellow jersey after stage seven.
July 9 - Enhances hold on maillot jaune ahead of the first rest day with a first Tour stage win, on the stage nine time-trial to Besancon.
July 21 - Wins the time-trial on the Tour's penultimate day to all but secure victory.
July 22 - Confirmed as Britain's first-ever winner of the Tour de France.
August 1 - Claims gold medal for Team GB at London 2012 in Olympic road time-trial.
November 7 - Taken to hospital after a collision with a car near his home in Lancashire. Wiggins suffered bruising, a fractured rib, a bruised lung and a dislocated finger.
December 16 - Wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, finishing ahead of second-placed Jessica Ennis and third-placed Andy Murray.