A season in the rainbow jersey can bring immense pressure to bear on a reigning road champion, but that didn't seem to trouble Peter Sagan much in 2016. The 26-year-old Slovakian claimed his elusive first Monument victory, a fifth green jersey at the Tour de France, and a bevy of other impressive wins before closing out the season with a successful defense of his rainbow bands in Qatar. Matching those results with a singular personality, the season's Best Male Road Rider was voted overall Rider of the Year in the Cyclingnews Reader Poll for the second year in a row.
Sagan kicked off his final year with Tinkoff (he'll join Bora-hansgrohe in 2017) with a collection of runner-up results that had some fans worried he might fall back into a familiar rut of second-place finishes. He dispelled those concerns in the Spring Classics, however, when he won Gent-Wevelgem and then his long-awaited first Monument at the Tour of Flanders. From there, he kept his foot on the gas, collecting wins left and right all the way through October, thoroughly silencing any "Curse of the Rainbow Jersey" talk — and he'll have plenty more opportunities to shine in the rainbow bands in 2017, where he figures to feature prominently in the Spring Classics before he hunts a record-tying sixth green jersey at the Tour.
Possibly aided by his penchant for popping finish-line wheelies and making goofy commercials, Sagan was voted Rider of Year by a wide margin, wider even than the considerable margin that earned him the honor in 2015.
Sagan racked up more than eight times as many votes as second-place finisher Chris Froome (Team Sky), who took his third Tour de France win this season and was even the main protagonist in the Moment of the Year, as voted by Cyclingnews readers.
BMC's Greg Van Avermaet, winner of the Rio Olympic road race, came in just behind Froome in third.
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