Sports Personality of the Year 2014: Lewis Hamilton and Rory McIlroy go head to head

Rory McIlroy is currently the bookies' favourite to win the annual award, followed by F1 driver Lewis Hamilton

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The Independent Online

Newly crowned Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is taking on the likes of golfer Rory McIlroy, age-defying track victor Jo Pavey and dressage star Charlotte Dujardin in this year's race to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2014.

Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale, boxer Carl Froch, skier Kelly Gallagher, swimmer Adam Peaty, gymnast Max Whitlock and skeleton bob racer Lizzy Yarnold have been honoured with a place on the 10—strong list which was announced this evening by 2012 winner Bradley Wiggins.

But PGA Championship winner McIlroy is an early bookies’ favourite to win at 3/1 - just ahead of Hamilton.

“Even at this early stage it looks like a two horse race and Rory is already a couple of lengths ahead,” said Rupert Adams, a spokesman for Hill’s bookmakers.

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Jo Pavey, who won a gold medal at this summer's European Championships

The list was put together by sporting greats including Rebecca Adlington, Denise Lewis and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, as well as sports journalists and broadcasters.

Hamilton’s nomination comes after he claimed his second F1 world title over the weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - an achievement enjoyed by only seven drivers.

He is up against Pavey, 40, who this summer became the oldest woman to win a 10km gold medal at the European Championship; and Dujardin, who won two individual gold medals and helped her team claim a silver medal at the World Equestrian Games in the summer.

Bale and Yarnold are also strong contenders, after the latter scored a winning goal against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final, and the latter won gold at the Winter Olympics - giving Britain’s its first appearance on the top step of the winners' podium at Sochi.

Meanwhile, Frock was celebrated this year for retaining both his super-middleweight titles at Wembley; and Sochi gold-winner Gallagher triumphed in the Super-G.

Whitlock won three golds at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, while Peaty set a new world record for the 50-metre breaststroke at the European Championships as well as claiming a gold at Glasgow's Commonwealth Games.

The public are now invited to cast their votes for their favourite at bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality. The winner will be announced on a live show on 14 December. 

Andy Murray who took the 2013 title said: “It has been a sensational year for sport in Scotland with the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup amongst lots of other major events that have taken place there, and as a proud Scot it's wonderful that we have been in the position to be able to host so many key events in the sporting calendar.”

Additional reporting by PA

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