A BRITISH cyclist who competed in the district just weeks before winning the Tour de France - has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year. 

Welshman Geraint Thomas won the national time trial at the Cyclone Festival of Cycling, on May 28, which took place on roads around Kirkley Hall and Ponteland.

The 32-year-old Team Sky rider went on to become only the third Briton to win the Tour de France, after Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.

He said: "I take great pride in representing Britain and Wales. It has been a great year for British sport and long may it continue."

In a public vote, Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton finished second while footballer Harry Kane, who was the leading goalscorer at last summer's World Cup, was third.