Cyclist Martin Irvine named BBC NI Sports personality of 2013

World champion cyclist Martyn Irvine has been named the 2013 BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year.

The Newtownards man became the first Irish cyclist to win a world track title in 117 years when he triumphed in the scratch race in Belarus.

Irvine, 28, also won silver in the points race at the World Championships plus a World Cup gold in Manchester and a European bronze this year.

"This is a tremendous honour," said seven-times Irish champion Irvine.

"I want to thank BBC Northern Ireland for this award as it is fantastic recognition for everything that has happened in the past year and also for the sport of cycling which has been going through somewhat of resurgence in popularity recently.

"I'm really looking forward to the next year with the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships and hopefully the Giro d'Italia.

"With any luck I will be chatting to some of the guys from BBC Sport NI from a podium sometime next year!"

After winning his historic world gold and silver in Belarus during February, Irvine then suffered a fractured hip at a road race event in Taiwan a month later which ruled him out until August.

Martyn Irvine (right) with BBC NI sports editor Shane Glynn (centre) and BBC Sports presenter Stephen Watson

Martyn Irvine (right) with BBC NI sports editor Shane Glynn (centre) and BBC Sports presenter Stephen Watson

However, the battling Irvine regained his fitness to win bronze at the European Track Championships in Netherlands before taking victory in the World Cup points event in Manchester two weeks later.

The judging panel of Northern Ireland sports journalists chose Irvine ahead of runner-up AP McCoy and motorcyclist Michael Dunlop.

Others shortlisted for the award were boxer Carl Frampton, Ireland cricket captain William Porterfield and triathlon star Aileen Reid.

The panel of judges comprised of Shane Glynn, editor Sport BBC NI, BBC NI sports reporter Nikki Gregg, Belfast Telegraph sports editor Stephen Beacom, Kenny Archer of the Irish News, News Letter sports editor Richard Mulligan and author and freelance journalist Orla Bannon.

"Once again the judging panel had a tough decision to make this year but we felt that Martyn's achievements were just outstanding," said BBC NI sports editor Glynn.

"I'm delighted that he's been voted BBC Northern Ireland's Sports Personality of the Year for 2013.

"To become a world champion, literally within an hour of winning a silver medal in another discipline, is nothing short of phenomenal.

"And to beat the likes of AP McCoy and Michael Dunlop to this award speaks volumes about Martyn's achievements."