His year started with him batting away ozone doping allegations, but Greg Van Avermaet has finished his season by picking up Het Laatste Nieuws's Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bike) award.
It's the second year running that Van Avermaet has won the newspaper's award voted for by journalists, former winners and cycling celebrities, this time beating out Eneco Tour winner Tim Wellens and 21-year-old Tiesj Benoot.
Van Avermaet finished runner up to Wellens at the Eneco Tour, but his year featured his traditional array of podium finishes, although a major Classics win continued to elude him.
Second place at Strade Bianche was followed by consecutive third-place finishes at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix and fifth in the Amstel Gold Race.
He won the overall at the Belgium Tour in May, but his crowning glory came on stage 13 of the Tour de France, when he beat Peter Sagan on the line in Rodez in sweltering conditions to take his first Tour win.
The BMC rider left the race three days later to be with his wife, Ellen, for the birth of their first child, Fleur.
The Kristallen Fiets is Van Avermaet's second award of the season, having also picked up the Flandrien of the Year title, and the 30-year-old is in the running for Belgium's Sportsman of the Year award.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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