Tour winner Thomas and sprinter Asher-Smith take SJA awards

LONDON (Reuters) - Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and sprinter Dina Asher-Smith were named sportsman and sportswoman of the year by Britain's Sports Journalists' Association on Thursday.

Commonwealth Games winners England Netball were the team of the year, with the men's soccer team that reached the World Cup semi-finals in Russia only third and behind Europe's Ryder Cup golfers.

Team Sky rider Thomas's closest rival in the voting was heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua, runner-up for the second year running but still undefeated in the ring with 22 wins out of 22 professional fights.

It was the second year in a row that a professional cyclist had won the award, with fellow Tour winner Chris Froome collecting it in 2017.

Mercedes' Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, who this year became only the third driver ever to win five titles, came in third.

Hamilton did win the Chairman's Award, however, with SJA chairman Andy Elliott hailing him as "the greatest motor racing driver this country has seen."

Asher-Smith, the fastest British woman in history and winner of three golds at the European championships, beat double Olympic skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold in the voting. British Open golf champion Georgia Hall was third.

Yarnold was recognised with an award for outstanding performance.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)