SPOTY Betting: Mountain goat Froome can climb to the top of the voting

History maker - Chris Froome celebrates his unique double Tour triumph
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Anthony Joshua continues to dominate the market for the BBC's big award, but Ralph Ellis says cyclist Chris Froome has put himself in the picture...

"The options are so thin at the moment that surely Froome must be included on the shortlist this time. Then there’s clear evidence that cycling as a sport can command votes in the modern SPOTY format."

Near where we used to often go on holiday in Spain there is a magnificent golf complex called La Cala.

Set in the foothills of the Sierra de Mijas peaks, I used to call it mountain goat golf. Every tee seemed to be 100 feet higher than the previous green and it felt like you needed ropes and crampons to get round.

That was easy compared to what Chris Froome has just done in Spain. The Vuelta a Espana is mountain goat cycling, clambering up huge inclines that go on for kilometre after kilometre.

Hats off to anybody who just gets round (especially to former Crystal Palace star Geoff Thomas and his team who have just done it for charity)

To actually go and win it, just a month after also riding into Paris wearing the Tour de France yellow jersey, is an awesome achievement and one that deserves wider recognition.

At the moment it's gone almost under the radar. I'm told only five British newspaper journalists made the trip to the mountain village where he'd clinched the win on Saturday by climbing the Alto de L'Angliru.

I get the sense, though, that as the nights draw in and Christmas approaches, and we begin to look back on the sporting year, the magnitude of what Froome has achieved might begin to grow as big as those Spanish mountain ranges.

And when it comes to the voting for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year, I think Froome's spectacular double will chime far louder with the audiences who ring in with their vote.

At the moment Anthony Joshua is runaway favourite at [1.52], while Froome, matched at various times at prices above [50.0] has climbed behind him to be the new [9.2] second favourite.

I've never been convinced that Joshua should be such a short price, and back in July suggested laying him at [1.66].

Now that his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko is off, and instead his opponent is the relatively obscure figure of Kubrat Pulev, I think he'll tick even less of the Great British Public's boxes.

Froome has never been a figure that the public have warmed to. He lacks the cheeky humour of Bradley Wiggins, and is basically just focused around his sport.

Asked if he thought he might even make the shortlist for SPOTY this time round, he laughed: "I'm not going to hold my breath.".

But who will be nominated? It's a thin year. Jimmy Anderson [190.0] might get a mention for reaching 500 wickets, while Lewis Hamilton [17.0] is bound to be there if he goes on to clinch another Drivers Championship.

But the options are so thin at the moment that surely Froome must be included this time. Then there's clear evidence that cycling as a sport can command votes in the modern SPOTY format.

Mark Cavendish and Wiggins won in 2011 and 2012 before Andy Murray began his dominant era. Boxing, in contrast, has produced only one winner this century despite a long list of British world title winners. Maybe 2017 will turn out to be the year of the mountain goat.

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