Sir Bradley Wiggins was left pinching himself after being awarded the "ultimate accolade" of a knighthood in the New Year Honours.
Wiggins joins six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy as a cycling knight after an incredible year that saw him become the first British winner of the Tour de France and then add a fourth Olympic gold in the time trial in London.
Wiggins said: "It's quite something really. I never ever imagined that I would ever become a knight so it's an incredible honour but there's a slight element of disbelief, and it will take a while to sink in."
He went on: "It's not something I'll use on a daily basis but it's nice to have in the trophy cabinet as the ultimate accolade as a sportsman, being knighted by your country for not only the success this year but 12 years now of consistent work and performing - four Olympic Games, seven medals.
"It's more the recognition of that so it's fantastic. And to be an active knight as well along with Sir Chris is incredible for a sport like cycling."
Wiggins' knighthood follows hot on the heels of his runaway success as the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year earlier this month.
The irreverent personality that he showed that night and which has captured the public's imagination perhaps sits oddly with a knighthood, but Wiggins believes it sends a good message in the age of celebrity culture.
He said: "There was never any doubt whether I'd accept it or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a Sir, and I probably never will. I don't like profiting from status so it's more for my family. It's nice for my parents and grandparents to be able to say I'm a knight, and for my kids in the future.
"To be deemed good enough to have a knighthood by the establishment is quite nice really, because I've continued to be myself through most of the fame.
"Not all of it's been good, a couple of swear words and things, so it's nice to be able to receive this after everything, it shows you don't have to have a stiff upper lip and say all the right things all the time. It's a nice advertisement for our culture I think because so much of it is based on being something you're not with celebrity, so it's reassuring in a way."