Peter Sagan has been given the coveted Vélo d’Or award for 2016, after an outstanding season in the rainbow jersey of road race World Champion.
The 26-year-old Slovak enjoyed one of his most successful seasons riding for Tinkoff, with victories in the Tour of Flanders, Ghent-Wevelgem, a fifth consecutive Tour de France green jersey and three stage victories, and a successful defence of his world title – among others.
Although an appearance in the 2016 Olympic Games in the mountain bike discipline was fruitless, Sagan finished the year at the top of the UCI’s WorldTour ranking.
Few can argue that Sagan was not the most outstanding rider of the year. Last year’s Vélo d’Or winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) was runner-up to Sagan, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in third.
Romain Bardet (Ag2r) was handed the Vélo d’Or award for best French rider, after placing second overall in the Tour de France behind Froome and taking a stage victory.
Bardet was also second behind Froome in the Critérium du Dauphiné and finished top 10 in a host of other races including Volta a Catalunya, Giro del Trentino and Paris-Nice.
Bardet secured the French award ahead of Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep).
Recent recipients of the Vélo d’Or have included Froome twice (2013, 2015), Sir Bradley Wiggins (2012), Alberto Contador on four occasions (2007, 2008, 2009, 2014), Fabian Cancellara (2010) and Philippe Gilbert (2011).
The winners were decided by a jury of 18 journalists for the international award and 25 for the French award. It has been running since 1992, when Miguel Indurain became the first rider to receive the accolade.