Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali sets his sights on rainbow jersey after completing Grand Tour grand slam
Nibali added Le Tour to his 2010 Vuelta and 2013 Giro d'Italia successes
Monday 28 July 2014
Vincenzo Nibali celebrated a first Tour de France victory in Paris on Sunday before targeting the world champion's rainbow jersey.
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, after winning the 101st Tour, 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.
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).
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The 37-year-old Peraud and 24-year-old Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) finished second and third to ensure there was two Frenchmen on the Tour podium for the first time since 1984, when Laurent Fignon won ahead of Hinault.
After wins for Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in successive years, Team Sky had a frustrating campaign.
Froome crashed out on stage five and - along with two-time champion Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 2014 Giro winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) - is likely to challenge Nibali for the 2015 Tour, which begins in Utrecht.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), the last remaining Briton of the four who started, finished 39th to place 22nd overall, 59:14 behind Nibali.
The Welshman is already looking forward to the 102nd Tour.
He told ITV4: "The team might get some stick for not winning a stage but we've stuck at it, dug in and tried our best, and that's sport at the end of the day.
"It feels like I've taken a step forward personally. It's done my confidence the world of good, and like Richie (Porte), I'm looking forward to next year already."
Porte assumed the leadership once Froome abandoned, but illness derailed his challenge, although he was prominent in a forlorn break on the final day.
"It's been an up and down Tour for us - and really hard - but next year I'm sure we'll come back and fight harder," Porte told ITV4.
"I had the chance of a lifetime to lead the team after Chris crashed out but got sick and things didn't work out."
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