JESSICA Ennis doesn’t expect the fall out from the Lance Armstrong scandal to affect the chances of her main opponent for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
The American was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the International Cycling Union ratified the sanctions recommended by the United States Anti-doping Agency, who concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.
However, Ennis, who said Armstrong’s actions were “disgusting” doesn’t think that Britain’s all-conquering cycling team, including SPOTY favourite Bradley Wiggins, will lose the support of the public.
She said: “British Cycling is a really successful team and we should be proud at what they have achieved.
“Sports Personality will be so hard to win this year. Bradley Wiggins will definitely be up there (as one of the main contenders).”
At the start of 2012 a gold medal for Ennis would have made her the stand-out name for the award such is her popularity with young and old sports fans alike.
But Wiggins’ success, which included winning numerous times on cycling’s world tour as well as becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France and storming home for time-trial gold in London has made the Team Sky leader the bookies’ favourite to follow fellow cyclist Mark Cavendish to the title.
She said: “There’s so many good contenders this year, it has been a brilliant year for sport. I’m just looking forward to enjoying the evening.”
Ennis has twice finished third in the voting for the award. The first time was 2009 at Sheffield Arena after winning the World Championships when Ryan Giggs and Jenson Button were the top two respectively and then in 2010 behind jockey Tony McCoy and darts player Phil Taylor.
This year’s event takes place at the ExCel Arena in London on Sunday, December 16.