For the second year in a row, Cyclingnews readers have chosen Peter Sagan as the Male Road Rider of the Year in our annual poll. The 26-year-old Slovakian, who made it back-to-back world championship titles in October, won by a landslide, hauling in a whopping 73 per cent of the vote.
Sagan collected 12,367 votes, and Froome, who also finished runner-up at the Vuelta a España and won the Critérium du Dauphiné, was the only other rider to make it over 1,000. Van Avermaet, who threw off his ‘nearly-man’ tag to win the Olympic road race, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the GP de Montreal, as well as winning a stage and wearing the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, collected 829 votes.
But 2016 belonged to Sagan. The Slovakian was himself considered something of a nearly man, but his breakthrough victory at the 2015 World Championships seemed to change that, and he went from strength to strength over the course of this season.
Second at Omloop and fourth at Strade Bianche was a strong start, and he went close at Tirreno-Adriatico, with two top fives and second overall. 12th at Milan-San Remo and second at E3-Harelbeke roused fears it could be another tale of near misses, but Sagan won Gent-Wevelgem and then broke his Monument duck at the Tour of Flanders, breaking free with a searing acceleration on the Paterberg and soloing his way to a memorable victory in the rainbow bands.
He missed the key split at Paris-Roubaix and had to settle for 11th, but after that the wins kept coming – two apiece at the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse. At the Tour de France he had his customary string of top five placings but three wins and a stint in the maillot jaune made it a more than successful return.
Sagan carried his form into the late season, winning the GP de Quebec and finishing second at Montreal, and winning two stages and finishing on the podium at the Eneco Tour to ensure he'd finish the year at the top of the WorldTour rankings.
Sandwiched in there was a victory at the inaugural European Championships, but, not content with wearing the starred jersey of Eurpean champion next year, Sagan wrote himself into the history books by winning the Worlds for a second year in a row, making the key split in the Qatari desert and beating Mark Cavendish in the sprint in Doha.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team||12367||votes|
|2||Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky||1428|
|3||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team||829|
|4||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data||668|
|5||Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange||490|
|6||Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo||377|
|7||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||265|
|8||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||249|
|9||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||138|
|10||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team||124|