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Gallery: Sagan steals the show at the inaugural UCI Cycling Gala

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Peter Sagan salutes the crowd as he receives a framed rainbow jersey from Brian Cookson

Peter Sagan salutes the crowd as he receives a framed rainbow jersey from Brian Cookson
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome on an iPad

Chris Froome on an iPad
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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MC Laura Meseguer interviewing Nairo Quintana

MC Laura Meseguer interviewing Nairo Quintana
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alberto Contador with his prize

Alberto Contador with his prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Entertainmanet was in the form of cycling acrobatics

Entertainmanet was in the form of cycling acrobatics
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquin Rodriguez was second on the WorldTour individual standings

Joaquin Rodriguez was second on the WorldTour individual standings
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquin Rodriguez waves to the audience

Joaquin Rodriguez waves to the audience
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquin Rodriguez accepting his WorldTour prize

Joaquin Rodriguez accepting his WorldTour prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquin Rodriguez with his prize

Joaquin Rodriguez with his prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fair Play ward winner, Tom Dumoulin

Fair Play ward winner, Tom Dumoulin
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nario Quintana with Laura Meseguer

Nario Quintana with Laura Meseguer
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nairo Quintana recognised for third place on the WorldTour standings

Nairo Quintana recognised for third place on the WorldTour standings
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alberto Contador with MC Laura Meseguer

Alberto Contador with MC Laura Meseguer
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome mid-interview

Chris Froome mid-interview
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador on the stage

Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador on the stage
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bradley Wiggins sent in a video acceptance

Bradley Wiggins sent in a video acceptance
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joshing around post-gala

Joshing around post-gala
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Eusebio Unzué collecting the team prize award

Eusebio Unzué collecting the team prize award
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Movistar was recognised for its WorldTour team prize

Movistar was recognised for its WorldTour team prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome was recognised for his Tour win

Chris Froome was recognised for his Tour win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Dumoulin accepting his fair play prize

Tom Dumoulin accepting his fair play prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The award winners on stage

The award winners on stage
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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French historian and television commentator Jean-Paul Ollivier given the Outstanding Journalism Award

French historian and television commentator Jean-Paul Ollivier given the Outstanding Journalism Award
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabio Aru with his prize for the Vuelta Espana win

Fabio Aru with his prize for the Vuelta Espana win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Molly Shaffer Van Houweling with her world hour record prize

Molly Shaffer Van Houweling with her world hour record prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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MC Sep Piquet with women's hour record holder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling

MC Sep Piquet with women's hour record holder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Images of Chris Froome on the big screen

Images of Chris Froome on the big screen
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The three grand tour winners of 2015; Fabio Aru (Vuelta a Espana), Chris Froome (Tour de France) and Alberto Contador (Giro d'Italia)

The three grand tour winners of 2015; Fabio Aru (Vuelta a Espana), Chris Froome (Tour de France) and Alberto Contador (Giro d'Italia)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabio Aru was recognised for his Vuelta a Espana overall win

Fabio Aru was recognised for his Vuelta a Espana overall win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alberto Contador and Chris Froome share a joke

Alberto Contador and Chris Froome share a joke
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome accepting his award

Chris Froome accepting his award
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bradley Wiggins wasn't on hand to accept the world hour record prize

Bradley Wiggins wasn't on hand to accept the world hour record prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alberto Contador was recognised for his Giro d'Italia prize

Alberto Contador was recognised for his Giro d'Italia prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde is interviewed by MC Laura Meseguer

Alejandro Valverde is interviewed by MC Laura Meseguer
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The top three WorldTour riders; Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez

The top three WorldTour riders; Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The fair play award went to Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin)

The fair play award went to Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There was some acrobatics on display

There was some acrobatics on display
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alberto Contador recognised for his Giro d'Italia win

Alberto Contador recognised for his Giro d'Italia win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Giant-Alpecin won the media prize

Giant-Alpecin won the media prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Geert Broekhuizen of Giant-Alpecin accepting his prize

Geert Broekhuizen of Giant-Alpecin accepting his prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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MC's Sep Piquet, Laura Meseguer, AIJC's Raymond Kerckhoffs award Geert Broekhuizen of Giant-Alpecin for the media prize

MC's Sep Piquet, Laura Meseguer, AIJC's Raymond Kerckhoffs award Geert Broekhuizen of Giant-Alpecin for the media prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The inaugural UCI Gala Awards were held in Abu Dhabi

The inaugural UCI Gala Awards were held in Abu Dhabi
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome went for a sparkly suit jacket

Chris Froome went for a sparkly suit jacket
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome giving an interview before the gala

Chris Froome giving an interview before the gala
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A representatie accepts Wiggins' prize

A representatie accepts Wiggins' prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alberto Contador accepting his prize

Alberto Contador accepting his prize
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Aref Hamad Al Awani addresses the gala

Aref Hamad Al Awani addresses the gala
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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UCI President Brian Cookson addressing the gala

UCI President Brian Cookson addressing the gala
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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2015's Grand Tour winners relive their biggest moments

2015's Grand Tour winners relive their biggest moments
(Image credit: Bettini)
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BMC's Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss collect the team time trial world championship prize.

BMC's Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss collect the team time trial world championship prize.
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Eusebio Unzué collects Movistar's trophy as top WorldTour team

Eusebio Unzué collects Movistar's trophy as top WorldTour team
(Image credit: Bettini)
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The 2015 Grand Tour winners share the stage

The 2015 Grand Tour winners share the stage
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Peter Sagan tries out the rainbow stripes as dinner wear

Peter Sagan tries out the rainbow stripes as dinner wear
(Image credit: Bettini)
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The 2015 Grand Tour winners

The 2015 Grand Tour winners
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Vuelta winner Fabio Aru, Tour winner Chris Froome and Giro winner Alberto Contador collect their hardware.

Vuelta winner Fabio Aru, Tour winner Chris Froome and Giro winner Alberto Contador collect their hardware.
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Fabio Aru receives his award as the Vuelta a Espana overall winner

Fabio Aru receives his award as the Vuelta a Espana overall winner
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Manuel Quinziato, Daniel Oss and Peter Sagan take time for a quick selfie

Manuel Quinziato, Daniel Oss and Peter Sagan take time for a quick selfie
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Top WorldTour team Movistar

Top WorldTour team Movistar
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Alejandro Valverde won the WorldTour individual prize for a second year running

Alejandro Valverde won the WorldTour individual prize for a second year running
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Alejandro Valverde collects the prize for leading the WorldTour rankings

Alejandro Valverde collects the prize for leading the WorldTour rankings
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Bradley Wiggins talks about the UCI Hour Record

Bradley Wiggins talks about the UCI Hour Record
(Image credit: Bettini)
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UCI Hour Record holder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling.

UCI Hour Record holder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling.
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Peter Sagan went for the casual look at the gala

Peter Sagan went for the casual look at the gala
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Giant-Alpecin's Aike Visbeek

Giant-Alpecin's Aike Visbeek
(Image credit: Bettini)
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French journalist Jean-Paul Oliver

French journalist Jean-Paul Oliver
(Image credit: Bettini)
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UCI Hour Record holder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling

UCI Hour Record holder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Giant-Alpecin's Aike Visbeek

Giant-Alpecin's Aike Visbeek
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Vuelta winner Fabio Aru, Tour winner Chris Froome and Giro winner Alberto Contador collect their hardware.

Vuelta winner Fabio Aru, Tour winner Chris Froome and Giro winner Alberto Contador collect their hardware.
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Marcel Kittel meets the press at the UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi.

Marcel Kittel meets the press at the UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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2015 UCI Road Race World Champion Peter Sagan salutes the crowd

2015 UCI Road Race World Champion Peter Sagan salutes the crowd
(Image credit: UCI)
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Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Roriguez

Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Roriguez
(Image credit: UCI)
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Peter Sagan gets a framed jersey from UCI President Brian Cookson

Peter Sagan gets a framed jersey from UCI President Brian Cookson
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Sagan's win in Richmond is flashed across the giant video screen.

Peter Sagan's win in Richmond is flashed across the giant video screen.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peter Sagan addresses the crowd after receiving a framed rainbow jersey from Brian Cookson

Peter Sagan addresses the crowd after receiving a framed rainbow jersey from Brian Cookson
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Aref Hamad Al Awani discusses the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour

Aref Hamad Al Awani discusses the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Brian Cookson presents a rainbow jersey to Vasil Kiryienka

Brian Cookson presents a rainbow jersey to Vasil Kiryienka
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Brian Cookson presents a rainbow jersey to Vasil Kiryienka

Brian Cookson presents a rainbow jersey to Vasil Kiryienka
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC Director Fabio Baldato, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato get the team time trial World Championship prize from Brian Cookson.

BMC Director Fabio Baldato, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato get the team time trial World Championship prize from Brian Cookson.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC Director Fabio Baldato, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato get the team time trial World Championship prize from Brian Cookson.

BMC Director Fabio Baldato, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato get the team time trial World Championship prize from Brian Cookson.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Esteban Chaves collects his prize for his overall win at the Abu Dhabi Tour

Esteban Chaves collects his prize for his overall win at the Abu Dhabi Tour
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Esteban Chaves collects his prize for his overall win at the Abu Dhabi Tour

Esteban Chaves collects his prize for his overall win at the Abu Dhabi Tour
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Esteban Chaves collects his prize for his overall win at the Abu Dhabi Tour

Esteban Chaves collects his prize for his overall win at the Abu Dhabi Tour
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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UCI President Brian Cookson addresses the crowd at the UCI Cycling Gala.

UCI President Brian Cookson addresses the crowd at the UCI Cycling Gala.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A dapper Marcel Kittel at the UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi.

A dapper Marcel Kittel at the UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel meets the press at the UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi.

Marcel Kittel meets the press at the UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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UCI President Brian Cookson addresses the crowd at the UCI Cycling Gala.

UCI President Brian Cookson addresses the crowd at the UCI Cycling Gala.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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UCI President Brian Cookson addresses the crowd at the UCI Cycling Gala.

UCI President Brian Cookson addresses the crowd at the UCI Cycling Gala.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome was in attendance for the UCI Cycling Gala

Chris Froome was in attendance for the UCI Cycling Gala
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The UCI celebrated the winners and protagonists of the 2015 road season at the inaugural Cycling Gala and dinner in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, a few hours after the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Tour race, as the curtain fell on the long professional road season in northern Europe.

Riders, team representatives, members of the UCI Management Committee, local officials, sponsors and guests gathered in the du Forum near Yas Marina. The event was organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

All three Grand Tour winners were present at the event, with Alberto Contador and Chris Froome flying in to collect their awards, as did Nairo Quintana, who travelled from his home in Colombia to celebrate his third place in the final WorldTour ranking and Movistar's prize for topping the WorldTour team ranking for another year. Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) was also congratulated for winning the Abu Dhabi Tour.

Peter Sagan stole the show by ignoring requests to wear a suit. He turned up in a red T-shirt, leather jacket and boots and punched the air as he collected a framed rainbow jersey from UCI President Brian Cookson. He later broke the glass to pull on the rainbow jersey for some final photographs but also wished Tom Boonen a rapid recovery after his nasty crash during stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

"I'm very proud of the rainbow jersey and I hope I can be a good world champion. This jersey is maybe a bit heavy but I will try to do my best," Sagan said sincerely.

Seventeen athletes were given awards for success on the road and in time trials during the evening, while Bradley Wiggins and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling were awarded special prizes for setting new men's and women's Hour Record. Surprisingly, Van Houweling was the only woman to collect an award. World champion Lizzie Armitstead was unable to attend and the Velocio-SRAM team was not given an award for its Team Time Trial victory in Richmond, even though the BMC men's team was.

Two awards were also made to the media, with French historian and television commentator Jean-Paul Ollivier given the Outstanding Journalism Award after retiring following this year's Tour de France. The International Association of Cycling Journalists (AIJC) gave the Giant-Alpecin team the most media friendly award. Notable by their absence were representatives of Tour de France organiser ASO and French UCI Vice President David Lappartient, who was reported to be ill.

ASO has only recently agreed to include it's the Tour de France and its other races in the 2016 WorldTour calendar after a bitter dispute with the UCI regarding future reforms of the sport.

Bradley Wiggins was unable to attend the event as he is about to compete in the European track championships in Switzerland. However, he sent a video message, jokingly saying he was proud to accept the award for being "God's gift to cycling."

Contador, Froome and Fabio Aru were given awards for their Grand Tour victories together on stage.

"I think it's great that at the end of the season we come together and celebrate and be proud of the achievements we've had this year," Froome said after arriving in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

"The Tour has got to be the highlight for me. The build-up, the hype, the pressure, everything that goes into being ready for the Tour, it's the enormity and intensity of it all. It's one thing planning for it all, it's another actually pulling it and wearing the yellow jersey all the way to Paris."

The end of the Cycling Gala marked the end of the professional road season in the northern hemisphere. A few races remain but now most riders are thinking about their holidays, time at home off the bike and some well-deserved rest. It is just 97 days until the start of the 2016 Tour Down Under in Australia.

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)