Greg Van Avermaet was awarded his fourth Flandrien of the Year prize of his career and third straight at the annual awards ceremony ahead of Lotto-Soudal's Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens. Van Avermaet moves past Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert to become the first rider to win the Het Nieuwsblad award on four occasions.
The BMC Racing rider enjoyed wins at Tirreno-Adriatico, Baloise Belgium Tour and the Tour de France, finished on the podium at Strade Bianchi, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Belgian nationals and closed his season with third at Paris-Tours along with several other top-ten results across the season.
"It's the fourth time I get this award, but it's still special," Van Avermaet said. "You can only stand here if you've had a good year. I attach more importance to classics victories, but the presentation of the Flandrien is anyway a great moment.
"The sporting highlight of 2015 was my stage victory in the Tour," he added of his stage 14 victory in Rodez. "That I Peter Sagan beat in the sprint will stay with me forever."
While Van Avermaet enjoyed a successful season on the bike, being acquitted of doping accusations from the 2012 season in which he has accused of using cortisone and the children’s medicine Vaminolact that surfaced early in the season was the self-described biggest win of the season for the 30-year-old.
"The low point of the year was to weather that doping affair," he said. "This case should never have been there. Being at home with my pregnant wife was definitely not fun."
Van Avermaet added that he hopes to continue his year-on-year improvement as a cyclist and with victory in a monument remaining a key motivator.
"It's hard to say how much growth margin I have," he said of whether 2016 can be his best season yet. "I've pretty quickly reached a good level ... Last year was very good, and in 2015 I was even better. I hope that next year I have a little bit of luck to win a classic, a monument."
Jolien D'hoore was awarded the women's prize for the second year running after her most successful season on the road yet. The 25-year-old won two rounds of the Women's World Cup, Ronde van Drenthe and Open de Suède Vårgårda, as she finished third on the overall standings. The Wiggle Honda rider also defended her Belgian national road race title and enjoyed stage wins at the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, Aviva Women's Tour and won the BeNe Ladies Tour overall.
D'hoore explained as this was the first year she concentrated wholly on the road, there is improvement to come but 2016 is all about winning gold in the omnium at the Rio Oylmpic Games.
"I could certainly do better. Only since last year did I really focus on the race. Before, I combined cycling with university studies," said D'hoore. "Next year the Olympic omnium is my priority. From now until Rio, I concentrate fully on the track, the road is secondary."
Peter Sagan was awarded the international rider prize, Mathieu van der Poel the cyclo-cross rider prize, Etixx-Quick Step neo-pro Laurens De Plus the promising rider award with Wesley Vercamst and Jasper Philipsen taking home the best newcomer and junior awards.
Flandrien of the Year Awards
Flandrien of the Year
1: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) 262 points
2: Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) 162
3: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 107
4: Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) 84
5: Philippe Gilbert (BMC) 51
International Flandrien: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo)
Flandrienne: Jolien D'hoore (Wiggle Honda)
Flandrien of the field: Mathieu van der Poel
Promising rider: Laurens De Plus
Newcomer: Wesley Vercamst
Junior: Jasper Philipsen