"I will say thank you to everyone who voted," said Wiggins, who became the first Briton to win the Tour and followed that triumph by claiming his fourth Olympic title.
After receiving the main award from the Duchess of Cambridge, he added: "We have had all that jungle stuff and X Factor in the last few weeks, so for people to pick up the phone and vote in half an hour, thank you very much.
"What a year. To stand on this stage with the people next to me is incredible. I'd like to thank my team-mates - I wouldn't be on this stage without them. I'd like to thank [British Cycling boss]
the coaches, British Cycling, Team Sky and all the Olympians."
More than 1.6m phone votes were recorded for the 12 BBC Sports Personality contenders, with Wiggins taking 30.25% of the vote.
Wiggins mixed track and road cycling from an early age, but first came to wider public prominence in the velodrome, when he won 4km individual pursuit gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The Lancashire-based athlete followed that up with two more golds on the track at the Beijing Games in 2008, a year in which he also picked up three titles at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
Wiggins showed his Tour pedigree when finishing fourth overall in 2009 (later promoted to third following the disqualification of third-placed Lance Armstrong) before securing a first Grand Tour podium place with third in the Vuelta a Espana two years later - a place behind Team Sky team-mate and fellow Briton Chris Froome, who was to play a key supporting role in Wiggins's 2012 Tour win.
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In total, the Briton won Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour de France during 2012 - the only cyclist ever to achieve that feat in a single season.
And just over a week after his Tour victory, the Belgium-born rider won the time trial at London 2012 to take his tally of Olympic medals to seven, a haul only equalled among Britons by fellow cyclist and 2012 Sports Personality nominee Sir Chris Hoy.
Below are the results of the phone voting for the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year main award:
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