Peter Sagan has said that topping the 2016 UCI WorldTour ranking is a 'great honour'. The World champion was speaking after Il Lombardia in Italy on Saturday, the final event in the UCI's top-flight calendar of races.
"Finishing a season at the top of the UCI WorldTour ranking is, obviously, a great honour and gratification for any rider," said the 26-year-old Slovak of Team Tinkoff.
"It's the first time in my professional career that I attain this summit and I'm thrilled. It's the culmination of a strong and consistent performance throughout the year, the combination of personal effort and support from the team and its partners."
Sagan has shown consistency throughout the season, where he never seemed to be far away from a podium position. Along with his victories, he also placed second overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, E3 Harelbeke and the GP de Montreal. He was also third overall in the Eneco Tour and took two stages.
Sagan also took the points classification at the Tour de France for the fifth consecutive year, although that counts for nothing in terms of WorldTour points.
Only Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) got close to Sagan in the WorldTour rankings, winning the Vuelta a España, placing third in the Tour de France, and winning the Volta a Catalunya and Tour de Romandie. Sagan ended with 669 points to Quintana's 609.
British Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky) was third in the ranking with 564 points.
Il Lombardia also marked the final WorldTour race for Sagan's Russian Tinkoff team, as owner Oleg Tinkov will pull the plug on the squad at the end of 2016. Sagan has signed up to Bora-Hansgrohe for 2017.
“Sadly, I reach this pinnacle in my career on the day Tinkoff took part in its last WorldTour race ever," Sagan said in a team statement.
"We are all sorry to see this great team disappear but we understand the decision taken by its owner Oleg Tinkov. I would like to thank everybody in the team, and especially Oleg, for these two great seasons that brought me success, including some of the world's most coveted trophies and jerseys. It wouldn't have been possible without them."
Although the WorldTour may have concluded, the season has not yet finished. Sagan will go into the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in mid-October as defending champion.
Peter Sagan's 2016 WorldTour wins
March 27: Ghent-Wevelgem
April 3: Tour of Flanders
May 15: Tour de Suisse, stage 2
May 18: Tour de Suisse, stage 3
July 3: Tour de France, stage 2
July 13: Tour de France, stage 11
July 18: Tour de France, stage 16
September 9: Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
September 21: Eneco Tour, stage 3
September 22: Eneco Tour, stage 4
European Championships road race
Tour of California, stage 1
Tour of California, stage 4
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