Peter Sagan rocks UCI Cycling Gala

The 2015 season's top cyclists are honoured at the first ever UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi

Peter Sagan stole the show at the inaugural Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, standing out from the formally suited crowd in black leather jacket, red T-shirt and studded belt.

Rather than a polite handshake to UCI president Brian Cookson, newly-crowned world champion Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) punched the air in triumph as he received his framed rainbow jersey.

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He later broke the glass front of the frame to get the jersey out and put it on for photographers.

Sagan was one of a number of high-profile guests at the event, which celebrated the top riders of the year and those who performed in the UCI’s WorldTour calendar.

Grand Tour 2015 winners Chris Froome (Sky), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) were also there to receive awards for their achievements.

Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, and Fabio Aru at the UCI Gala 2015

Grand Tour winners Chris Froome (centre), Alberto Contador (right), and Fabio Aru (left) at the UCI Gala 2015

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) received his award for topping the 2015 WorldTour rankings, with runner-up Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and third-placed Nairo Quintana (Movistar) also receiving awards.

Valverde and Quintana’s Movistar team were recognised for their achieveent of being the top team, with Spain honoured for being top nation in the WorldTour.

Alejandro Valverde (centre), Nairo Quintana (l) and Joaquim Rodriguez (r) at the UCI Gala

Alejandro Valverde (centre), Nairo Quintana (left) and Joaquim Rodriguez (right) at the UCI Gala

Other awards were also handed out, including recognition for new World Hour Record holders Sir Bradley Wiggins and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling (USA).

Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) was also there having won the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour earlier in the day.

Cookson said: “Our inaugural UCI Cycling Gala enabled us to pay tribute to the athletes who made the headlines and graced the podiums in 2015.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to gather together some of the biggest stars of cycling for a true celebration of our sport. The fact that we could organise this event to coincide with the highly successful Abu Dhabi Tour made the occasion all the more special.”

Brian Cookson and Alejandro Valverde at the 2015 UCi Gala

Brian Cookson (left) and Alejandro Valverde at the 2015 UCI Gala

2015 UCI Cycling Gala award recipients

1st, UCI WorldTour Individual Classification: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team)
2nd, UCI WorldTour Individual Classification: Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha)
3rd, UCI WorldTour Individual Classification: Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team)

1st, UCI WorldTour Team Classification: Movistar Team
1st, UCI WorldTour Nation Classification: Spain

Men’s Elite UCI Road Race World Champion: Peter Sagan (Slovakia)
Men’s Elite UCI Individual Time Trial World Champion: Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus)
Men’s Elite UCI Team Time Trial Champions: BMC Racing Team

Men’s UCI Hour Record Holder: Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)
Women’s UCI Hour Record Holder: Molly Shaffer Van Houweling (USA)

Fair Play (awarded by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council): Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin)

Outstanding cycling journalism: Jean-Paul Ollivier (France)
Most friendly media team (awarded by the International Association of Cycling Journalists): Team Giant-Alpecin

Giro d’Italia winner: Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
Tour de France winner: Christopher Froome (Team Sky)
Vuelta a España winner: Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team)

Abu Dhabi Tour Winner: Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEdge)