Kenya-born cyclist Chris Froome is among several British sports stars who were included in the New Year Honours list on Wednesday for their achievements.
Froome, the two-time Tour de France champion, was bestowed with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal as legendary jump jockey Tony McCoy was awarded a knighthood.
The 1964 Formula One world champion John Surtees and five-time world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan were among those honoured.
The 30-year-old Froome, who competed for Kenya until 2008, having won bronze for the country at the 2007 Algiers Africa Games, said he was “extremely humbled and proud” to be made an OBE.
Froome, who is now a professional road racing cyclist for UCI ProTeam Team Sky, became the first Briton to win Tour de France, the premier road cycling race on two occasions - in 2013 and 2015.
Froome told Sky Sports that the honour brings an amazing year to a close for him in a nice way, both professionally and personally.
“It’s extremely humbling. It’s not a trophy or a race that you can win in a sporting capacity. It’s not something that I go out and look for, but at the same time, it’s really nice when it comes your way.”
Asked if he was looking forward to a trip to Buckingham Palace to receive the honour, he added: “Very much so. I don’t quite know when that is going to be - sometime early next year, I think - but I’m definitely looking forward to that. It’s going to be a real honour.”
When Froome returned to a hero's welcome in Kenya after winning the 2013 Tour de France he promised to set up a cycling foundation to help nurture talent in the country and in Africa.
Stars from football, tennis and boxing were among those made commanders (CBE), officers (OBE) or regular members (MBE) of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an order of chivalry.
McCoy, who becomes entitled to use the prefix Sir, rode 4,358 winners in his extraordinary career. The 41-year-old retired from racing in April after being crowned British jump racing champion jockey for a 20th consecutive year.
“It is an unbelievable privilege and honour to receive a knighthood in the New Year Honours List. I certainly wasn’t expecting it,” the Northern Irishman said. “I consider myself lucky to have had a job I loved.
“The support from the public and racing community since my retirement has been overwhelming.
“A knighthood really tops off what’s been a crazy and memorable year.” O’Sullivan, 40, arguably the most naturally-gifted snooker player of all time, was recognised with the OBE.
He won the 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013 world crowns.
Last year he said he did not feel he had done anything to merit an honour, only snooker titles.