Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali now targets a world title

C'est magnifique: Vincenzo Nibali is crowned Tour winner

Vincenzo Nibali will chase the world champion's rainbow jersey after completing a hat-trick of Grand Tour victories by winning the 101st Tour de France in Paris yesterday.

The Italian, winner of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana and 2013 Giro d'Italia, became the sixth rider to win all three Grand Tours, after Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Alberto Contador.

Now the 29-year-old is targeting the rainbow jersey.

"After winning the Vuelta, the Giro and the Tour, I'll keep focusing on Grand Tours but I'd also like to crown it all with a rainbow jersey one year," said Nibali, who does not believe this September's circuit in Ponferrada, Spain suits him.

Nibali (Astana) wore the fabled maillot jaune for 18 of the Tour's 21 race days, having first taken the race lead on day two in Sheffield with his first of four stage victories. He is the first Italian winner of the Tour since Marco Pantani in 1998.

"It's very difficult to make a comparison between Pantani's victory and my victory, because Marco won his in the last week, two days before the end," Nibali said.

"For me it's the contrary – I had the yellow jersey on my back after two days."

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won the final stage on the Champs-Elysees for a second successive year to bookend the race after his opening stage win in Harrogate. Germans won seven of the 21 stages.

But Nibali was the race's dominant rider, winning by seven minutes 52 seconds from Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale).

The 37-year-old Peraud and 24-year-old Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) finished second and third to ensure there were two Frenchmen on the Tour podium for the first time since 1984, when Laurent Fignon won ahead of Hinault.

Nibali finished safely in the pack in 81st place. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), the last remaining Briton of the four who started, finished 39th to place 22nd overall, 59:14 behind Nibali.

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